‘Respect doesn’t work that way’
People can’t stop talking about Colin Kaepernick and maybe that’s a good thing. Reaction to the NFL quarterback’s decision to sit during the national anthem has certainly been controversial but it’s also added another layer to the ongoing conversation about social justice in America.
Blogger Jim Wright, a Navy veteran, has weighed in on the controversy with his own Facebook post that has quickly gone viral. In his post, Wright says he’s received a number of emails from people wanting to know his feelings, as a veteran, on what the 49ers athlete has been saying. Wright says that respect is a “two-way street” and takes issue with those using Kaepernick’s wealth and celebrity athlete status to suggest he shouldn’t have an opinion on such a divisive issue:
“America must be worthy of respect. Torture, rendition, indefinite detention, unarmed black men shot down in the street every day, poverty, inequality, voter suppression, racism, bigotry in every form, obstructionism, blind patriotism, NONE of those things are worthy of respect from anybody -- least of all an American,” Wright says. “But doesn't it also mean that if Kaepernick wants respect, he must give it first? Give it to America? Be worthy of respect himself? Stand up, shut up, and put his hand over his heart before Old Glory? No. It doesn't. Respect doesn't work that way.”
In less than one day, the post has been shared more than 20,000 times. Not everyone agrees with Wright’s take but it does provide a powerful counterpoint to those who argue that Kaepernick somehow is disrespecting the men and women in uniform who have fought to protect his freedom of speech by, you know, actually acting upon that freedom of speech. In fact, Kaepernick himself addressed the subject in a recent interview with the NFL, saying:
"I have great respect for men and women that have fought for this country," Kaepernick said. "I have family. I have friends that gone and fought for this country. They fight for freedom. They fight for the people. They fight for liberty and justice for everyone. And that's not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn't holding their end of the bargain up as far as, you know, giving freedom and justice and liberty to everybody."
Check out his full post below: