The Black Lives Matter movement is two years old, so it's a little odd that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has suddenly become a convert. He must certainly be pleased that everyone knows he refused to stand up during the national anthem at a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.
Kaepernick announced: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. ... There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." Now, photos show him wearing socks in training camp featuring pigs with police hats on them.
Like so many leftists, this disgraceful ingrate is nowhere to be found when there are a thousand times more "bodies in the street" as casualties of drug dealers or gang-bangers. Almost 500 people have been killed this year in Chicago, Illinois, alone. Seventy-nine police officers have been killed in the line of duty this year. It's unclear if this means a thing to Kaepernick.
But what's even more disturbing is how so many Americans feel the need to express respect for his right to speak freely. On ABC, Sen. Tim Kaine lectured, saying, "You got to respect people's ability to act according to their conscience." No, you don't have to respect that. Nor should you, Sen. Kaine.
How dare this man dishonor all the men and women who gave their lives for that flag? How many men and women pine to throw a football, but are missing hands? Or want to run on the field, but are missing legs?
To many on the left, denouncing America and its flag is a precious right, even an act of courage, when they should not just object, but call that protester an ungrateful jerk. Sen. Kaine is speechless when Kaepernick wears Fidel Castro on a T-shirt as he stands for free speech. Leftist agitator Kareem Abdul-Jabbar praised Kaepernick as a patriot in the Washington Post, and mocked critics for their "traditional all-American Forrest Gump values of patriotism."
So most Americans are as dumb as Gump for loving their flag.
Since his team is from San Francisco, it's not surprising that it issued a mealy-mouthed statement. The anthem is a "special part" of the pre-game ceremony, the 49ers said, but "we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem." Blah, blah, cowardly blah.
Just how tolerant is the National Football League, anyway? The NFL does pressure all players to wear bright pink on their uniforms for the entire month of October to build awareness for breast cancer. So what if some player refused on the grounds that he could care less about the issue? Or he demanded equal time devoted to prostate cancer awareness? Would ESPN rush to celebrate his right to free speech, or denounce him as a jerk?
The NFL doesn't believe in religious freedom. It came out publicly against a Georgia bill that said no pastor can be forced to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony, no individual can be forced to attend one, and no church or religious group would be forced to allow its facility to be used for an event it finds morally objectionable. A league spokesman denounced that exercise of free expression with appropriate Orwellian lingo, saying, "NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell openly opposed North Carolina's House Bill 2, which stated that people should use the bathroom of their biological gender. He said: "Anything that discriminates, we oppose. We will continue to fight that. We have a franchise here. The Carolina Panthers play here, they operate here, and we want to work with the community. We're not going to threaten a community." Which is exactly what Goodell was doing.
And the NFL opposed the Dallas Cowboys putting an "Arm in Arm" sticker on their helmet expressing support for the local police after five cops were shot dead in Dallas, Texas. No one on the left could manage to find anything worth respecting in that attempt to honor bravery.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.