“Insulting Colin Kaepernick says more about our patriotism than his” by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the Washington Post
We should admire those who risk personal gain in the service of promoting the values of their country. Both athletes are in fine company of others who have shown their patriotism in unconventional ways. In 1989, when a federal law prohibiting flag desecration went into effect, Vietnam Veterans burned the American flag as a protest to a law curbing the First Amendment. Their argument was that they fought for the freedoms in the Constitution, not a piece of cloth, and to curtail those freedoms was an insult to their sacrifice. Ironically, the original purpose of flag desecration laws between 1897 and 1932 wasn’t to prevent political dissent, but to prevent the use of flag imagery for political campaigns and in advertising.
During the Olympics in Rio a couple weeks ago, Army Reserve second lieutenant Sam Kendricks was sprinting intently in the middle of his pole vaulting attempt when he heard the national anthem playing. He immediately dropped his pole and stood at attention, a spontaneous expression of heartfelt patriotism that elicited more praise than his eventual bronze medal.