Someone who had attended Monday’s Redskins/Steelers game noted that fans sang “God Bless America” during a break in the game. Another dryly replied: “I wonder if Colin Kaepernick would kneel through that as well.” Most of the troops standing around laughed in approval.
But a few service members quietly fumed—a sign of how Kaepernick’s stance is quietly dividing those uniform, especially here in The Pentagon.
The debate over Kaepernick’s gesture has devolved into a mutually exclusive choice between patriotism or support for #BlackLivesMatter. And because of that, it has put troops who support Kaepernick’s call for the nation to address police shootings in the middle. Do you still support your country (even if you wear the uniform) or the cause Kaepernick said he is trying to shine a light on?
“You are making me choose when I don’t have to. You are throwing my patriotism in my face,” explained one Army colonel to The Daily Beast. “When I am in uniform, I do my duty. Kaepernick is a citizen of the country. He is doing his duty. The flag represents the people.”