This week, NFL player Colin Kaepernick made headlines when he announced he would sit down during the national anthem in protest of perceived racism in the United States.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and 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," Kaepernick told the media of his decision.
Kaepernick's stance immediately made waves around the NFL and the country.
Victor Cruz of the New York Giants and Alex Boone of the Minnesota Vikings both expressed their beliefs that Kaepernick should show more respect. For Boone, the brother of an Armed Forces veteran, it's a simple matter of honoring those who served.
"It's hard for me, because my brother was a Marine, and he lost a lot of friends over there," Boone told USA TODAY. "That flag obviously gives (Kaepernick) the right to do whatever he wants. I understand it. At the same time, you should have some fucking respect for people who served, especially people that lost their life to protect our freedom."
Not everyone shares Boone's thoughts.
Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks commended Kaepernick for his actions and saw the protest as nothing more than "freedom of speech, and freedom of action."
"I think it's a guy standing up for what he believes in," Bennett The Seattle Times. "I think this is America, so he has the right to have any type of beliefs he wants. Anybody that has a problem with it, I think they shouldn't have a problem with it, because at the end of the day, it's freedom of speech, and freedom of action, and that's what makes America great. He's just doing what he wants to do."
Despite standing by Kaepernick's decision to express his societal beliefs, Bennett believes that the reason to stand for the flag is much greater than a football game.
"I think he has some points," Bennett said. "But I still think overall, the thing about the American flag when it's flying like that, it's more for the troops and stuff like that, the guys that lost their life in battle. There's a fine line between both of them. I can see his point of view, and I can see the other side of it, too."
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