Colin Kaepernick has been heavily criticized for his decision to sit during the national anthem because, as he explained, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."
CBS Sports NFL studio analyst and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason called Kaepernick "about as disrespectful as any athlete has ever been." But the notion that Kaepernick is dishonoring the flag by sitting during the anthem isn't shared by everyone. In fact, #VeteransForKaepernick became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter as military members defended the 49ers quarterback.
Here's a sample:
As a disabled veteran, I served for @Kaepernick7 right to protest, not to stand for a song written by an evil person. #VeteransForKaepernick— B (@BL_Howard) August 31, 2016
May not agree with his method of protest but fought for and respect his right to do it #VeteransForKaepernickpic.twitter.com/XkLqhW0UsZ— Johnny Painter (@damnredskinsfan) August 31, 2016
#VeteransForKaepernick bc I didnt join to watch the police terrorize the country my brothers and sisters protect. pic.twitter.com/AwqPGqzvKs— A$AP CARP (@LeCaptainMorgan) August 31, 2016
#VeteransForKaepernick because I didn't volunteer to defend a country where police brutality is swept under the rug. pic.twitter.com/LtBkTvHHAn— Baltic Avenue (@Baltic_Avenue) August 31, 2016
@Kaepernick7 I served 25yrs in the AF to protect everyone's 1st Amend rights. I support you #VeteransForKaepernickpic.twitter.com/Q7r7PfvryA— Nicole (@dcmbrdiva) August 31, 2016
Free speech is free speech, all the time #VeteransForKaepernickpic.twitter.com/tOGOmYe0bC— Coleman Chase (@colemanachase) August 31, 2016
I don't agree with all of his points, but I'll fight to the death for his right to say it. #VeteransForKaepernickpic.twitter.com/0jeFlIv5RX— Isaac wright (@I_Zac33) August 31, 2016
This name didn't serve 24 yrs & deploy 4 times from family so that cowards could silence him. #VeteransForKaepernickpic.twitter.com/uKOR8O1zML— Tawanna B Smith, MPP (@TawannaBSmith) August 31, 2016
On Monday, during an 18-minute interview, Kaepernick addressed concerns that his decision was disrespectful to the military.
"I have great respect for men and women that have fought for this country," he said. "I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. They fight for freedom. They fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice for everyone. And that's not happening.
"People are dying in vain because this country isn't holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. It's something that's not happening.
"I've seen videos. I've seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they fought for and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That's not right."