So I sat for the anthem yesterday in Oakland.
It’s something that has been on my mind for quite a while. I’ve long been uncomfortable with overt political acts at sporting events, but didn’t want to appear to be weird or extreme by declining to stand. When Colin Kaepernick began kneeling last year, I understood why he was doing it. Using his platform to speak out against persisting institutional racism in American law enforcement and the criminal justice system was to be respected. That his convictions caused him to kneel in order to bring further attention to a problem that prevents many Americans from enjoying the blessings of liberty protected by our Constitution, was also laudable. What he did was hard, and he has paid a significant price for his convictions. Yet, I still didn’t feel it was my place to participate, so I begrudgingly stood.
All of that changed this weekend when President Trump went out of his way to curse Kaepernick and threaten those who would use their voices (or knees) to peacefully protest repeated violations of individual rights. In other words, our top government official sought to use the weight of his office to threaten and urge that the livelihoods be taken away from those who peacefully said things he didn’t like. In the face of that, I didn’t see any way I would stand for the anthem this weekend, or any time soon.