I speak from a place of both compassion and kindness when I say this, because I know many hold different views but perhaps this will provide some deeper understanding : I think what I find so interesting is the defamation of these men's character as un-American when wanting America to be better and to exemplify its cree as "One Nation with Liberty and Justice for all" is one of the most American thing someone can do.
The connection with kneeling is that people kneel when they hurt - and right now our country is hurting. Often times as a nation, I hear us trying to shy away from being uncomfortable when the only way you can make change and see change is in the face of uncomfortability. Instead of trying to silence protestors or try to change how they protest to make ourselves more comfortable, we should listen and try to place ourselves in their shoes.
The uncomfortability being felt for a moment is something they experience, in their core, every day of their lives. Think about the sit ins, the walks through Washington with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr... desegregating public schools...I'm sure people thought that was unnecessary, disrespectful, un-American, uncomfortable or maybe did not get the correlation ... or Rosa Parks sitting in the front of the bus... or I can take it all the way back to the Boston Tea party- I am sure the Brits thought we were disrespectful and unappreciative but Americans saw something unfair and unjust and sought change... and we find a way to celebrate these things today, without thinking that the same rhetoric we are spreading now is the same as those we saw on the wrong side of history, then. This is no different, and I am sure when we talk about this in the future, it will be a moment many say they supported our NFL players when instead they were not.
I remember hearing so many people bashing athletes and celebrities for not being good role models, but now when they take a stand, use their money and fame for good and giving back and making change... we tell them to "stay in their lane" and solely entertain us, when they are human beings with thoughts and feelings too; not to mention, protesting is their right- that our military fought to defend. This protest is NOT nor ever was about disrespecting our military or our flag, it is instead about wanting America to exemplify its core values. Kaepernick himself started this movement based on advice he received from a military member about how to be respectful while still calling attention to this issue.
It is furthermore discerning, to hear folks saying they will boycott the NFL because of this, but were unphased when players have been rapists or accused of murder. Our priorities are completely out of whack and we have dropped the ball as Americans. I wish that we would speak out with such fervent energy about the actual injustices that occur in our country and take a stronger stance against those things as I have seen many speak out against these players. It is telling what issues we are silent on and which ones we speak fervently on. Just think "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." <3
If anyone wants to discuss this further, feel free to private message me. I think that these discussions and this uncomfortability is absolutely necessary and instead of us shying away from these conversations, we need to continue to sit at the table and communicate with each other. so feel free to message