Everyone has an opinion on the Colin Kaepernick drama unfolding in San Francisco. When a player decides to purposely spurn the national anthem in protest, it's going to draw hot-take opinions from every corner. Good luck not weighing in.
Ray Lewis was offered the opportunity to join in the conversation when he appeared on the new show "Undisputed" (featuring friend of the program Joy Taylor) and offered some advice.
Lewis had some strong words for Kap. Namely, "take the flag out of" the protest.
"Listen I understand what you're trying to do, but understand, take the flag out of it. I have uncles, I've got brothers, going into the military, that said I will never see you again. To understand that I will always respect that part of what our patriotism should be. And that's the side that I think if Colin just really steps back, to effect change, to effect true change in what he's trying to say, if you don't have a real solution, if you ain't seen as a true activist, to go into hoods and do these things on a daily basis and not just jump up and just protest off this one thing because you're sick of it -- we've been sick of racism for 400-plus years."
Here's the thing: the flag and the anthem are problematic in this discussion because they're distracting from real issues. Protesting for social justice is as American as the flag itself.
There are problems in this country that need attention. People yelling about whether protests should include the flag or feature the national anthem or whether a certain day is acceptable for protesting only cloud the waters further.
Buried in Lewis' comments is a pretty bold accusation too: that Kap is not a "true activist" or at least not seen as a "true activist."
What more do you need besides a $1 million donation to communities in need? Kap got attention for his cause and immediately put his money where his mouth is.
There are always going to be people who don't agree with Kaepernick's protest. Involve the flag and you're just always going to get a negative response.
That's OK. The flag has an inherently powerful meaning for many people. It's just a shame that the presence of stars and stripes -- and pig socks -- are obfuscating the real issues.