San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently refused to stand for the national anthem before an NFL exhibition game. Should Kaepernick be asked to apologize, be fined, and asked to sit out games or be forced to leave the NFL?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Ever since the tragedy of 9/11 and its resultant knee-jerk reactions of revenge, declaration of war on terrorism, and an emphasis on patriotism, outsized attention has been given to perceived acts of disrespect to America and so-called American values. We started singing “God Bless America” at sporting events. We put an emphasis on thanking our military members for their service. Patriotic songs such as “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood gained new popularity. Celebrities seemed to fall all over themselves to show support for the wars in the Middle East.

So it’s natural that there is a popular outcry when a celebrity such as a pro football quarterback refuses to stand for the National Anthem in protest to this country’s historically poor treatment of people of color. Instead of asking if he should be punished in some way, the question should be “Did he really do anything that deserves punishment of any kind?”

Certainly, those who are so moved should stand for the National Anthem, but is there a law mandating such behavior? No. Do we require all to sing the lyrics? No. Remove headwear? No. Refrain from speaking during its performance? No. All of those are optional, prefaced by the public address announcer saying, “Please rise for our National Anthem.” It is a request.

At sporting events, people routinely neglect to remove headwear during the National Anthem. Many talk to each other instead of singing the lyrics or remaining silent. Many are checking cell phones or fiddling with other electronic devices. I have rarely seen other patrons get upset by those actions, which to some degree can also be construed as disrespectful.

Colin Kaepernick was vilified for the mere act of inaction. Instead of rising as was requested, he stayed seated. Yes, he chose to do so in protest, and his non-participation in this ritual certainly called attention to the missions of groups like Black Lives Matter, so he achieved his goal. However, it seems the people who were the most upset and called for the harshest punishment for Kaepernick were those who have a vested interest in promoting blind obedience and conformity or want to use this situation to advance either themselves or some personal agenda.

Politicians come to mind. So do other celebrities who use these opportunities to gain a few moments of free publicity. Also, conservatives who wish for society to go back to some good-old-days era where everyone was the same. Back to the time when there were no messy social issues to deal with and minorities of any sort were ignored or marginalized. They could go about their lives feeling superior to the rest of the world, knowing that America and the American way of life are as good as it gets, and the rest of the world should aspire to be just like us.

Instead of punishing people like Kaepernick for airing an opposing viewpoint, we should strive for more open dialogue and discussion of the problems and challenges we face in the 21st Century. Blind obedience and conformity to an arbitrary set of behaviors mandated by some unknown They or We are not the best way to make the world a better place.

Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-This issue has been a pain in my posterior; I’m sure others too. I’m not a patriotic person. In fact, I believe that one day God will bring to ruin those ruining this earth and uproot all the political systems. Yes, I’m a Biblical person, and I’m certain of the impending. This world is out of control. Hold up! Sorry for veering off course, but I was just relating a little history, that could probably explain why Colin Kaepernick did not stand for the national anthem. Not everyone is nationalistic as you are.

Cut the quarterback some slack. What is the national anthem that we need to stand and revere it? What on earth is the national anthem that I, or in this case Kaepernick, should get up off his cozy seat to stand? Absolutely rubbish! Do you stand when the Bible is being read? Do you stand when the Creator’s name, Jehovah, is being declared? Do you stand in wonder of Jehovah’s marvelous creation? Forgive me, why should this man apologize or better yet, be fined or asked to sit out any games? Please, for anyone who came up with that notion, take your nonsense elsewhere. What is the national anthem that a man should pay homage to it?

The vast majority worship the flag and the national anthem of a country more than they even pronounce Jehovah’s existence. Leave Kaepernick the heck alone. In fact, why don’t you target those hubris scientists who believe that mankind evolved from monkeys or the big bang theorist who believe we all came about as a result of a collision? Apologize for what, for expressing his freedom of choice by holding his seat? Give me a break!

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-So Colin Kaepernick, a bi-racial adopted son of white parents who was raised in affluence and has known the taste of privilege his entire life, is going to protest on behalf of oppressed blacks who are victimized by police brutality and economic injustice here in the United States. I keep expecting to see Allen Funt walk in from the wings and tell me that I’ve been watching an NFL-sponsored version of “Candid Camera,” but alas Alan has passed beyond the veil and our new lunatic culture has taken over.

Let’s first look at some facts about Kaepernick as a player. He’s going to at best be the ‘49ers second string quarterback this year. After his injury last year, he managed to put off treatment long enough that his guaranteed contract paid him $11.9 million and just about guaranteed him a spot on this year’s roster. He’s lost a lot of weight in the off-season, and quite frankly looks like the first sack he takes will land him on a stretcher and out for the season. Oh, and this season will cost the Niners $14.5 million if he gets away with that little trick.

So here we have an injury-prone quarterback who by any estimation failed to live up to his hype last year who has now decided that his ticket to NFL stardom is becoming a civil rights leader by insulting the country that’s spoon-fed him from birth. It’s nauseating, and should not be tolerated. If the team doesn’t cut him and send him packing, I’d like to see the TV networks agree to give his “protest” zero coverage. Don’t point a camera at him during the anthem. Don’t mention his actions. Let’s see how long he keeps up his behavior if he’s not getting any attention.

This treatment usually works for balky toddlers, so it should work just fine for Colin.

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Colin Kaepernick has used his position as a quarterback to politicize a long-standing tradition of honoring the national anthem and the American flag. He has used both as an excuse to put forth an agenda concerning his perceived notion that African Americans and other minorities are oppressed.

Many in the public are outraged over Kaepernick’s lack of respect for the anthem and have voiced their concern over his refusal as well as that of the coach and administrators in the NFL. They apparently encourage players to stand for the anthem, yet they do not strictly require players to show respect during the playing of the anthem.

Kaepernick should be cited, fined and perhaps deprived of his high paying position for such behavior. His actions, or inactions, are just another indicator of the depravity and moral decay within the country, and it is shameful that NFL officials condone this kind of behavior.

The problem with highly paid athletes and others out of the loop making these kinds of statements and sit downs is their lack of understanding and knowledge of black history and the connection with the Democrat party and other organizations.

Kaepernick and others in the movement basically refuse to get to the root causes of the problems associated with black political leaders, black unemployment, black on black crime, police altercations, incarceration numbers, welfare rolls, absent fathers, high abortion rates and other critical factors. They want to believe the lies that have been perpetuated with groups like Black Lives Matter and play the blame game rather than solve pervasive issues.

If Kaepernick were so concerned about black oppression, he would be out in black communities trying to help solve issues there, not refusing to stand up for the national anthem and the flag. He is not adding positive input or knowledge to the issue by turning his anger on the flag and anthem.

The lack of realization concerning black oppression is oftentimes self-inflicted and ongoing because of the refusal to understand what is behind the problems with so-called oppression. Instead of chiding and degrading the police, Kaepernick should be researching the claims and complaints in the community and doing what he could to educate others of the truth with supposed oppression and the politically motivated agenda behind it all. Instead, he makes remarks like, “…it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” He needs to look the problems square in the face and confront them in the communities not on the football field. Blaming the law just shows a total disregard for the police and what they do, including providing safety and protection for him and his teammates at games and other NFL events.

The NFL will most likely face pressure from fans, other players, and citizens in general over Kaepernick’s abrupt refusals to honor tradition, particularly with games outside of the San Francisco area. It doesn’t look good to defy the flag and an anthem that millions have fought and died for in the defense of America. He must realize this and be made to apologize for his actions, sit out a game or two or even be asked to leave the game altogether. Then, maybe he’ll be ready to face the issues of supposed oppression head on with educating himself as to what is and isn’t being oppressed and how to solve the problems within the black community. Unfortunately, the media will act as water boys in carrying his message on the NFL game trail, and the public will be left to deal with their actions. Hopefully the public will win in the end and Kaepernick will be forced to face the music with his unwarranted and disrespectful protests.

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