• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Here's Johnny - Can sitting be a stance?

I don't know Colin Kaepernick, but I'm not a fan. Why, you ask? OK, I'm assuming you asked, or at least wondered. If, while reading this column, you literally asked The Sun a question, it probably wouldn't say anything back, and if it did, please call me, because that's a Kentucky Press Association (KPA) award-winning feature if I've ever heard one. Having dilly-dallied, I will now answer the question you may or may not have posed to a newspaper: I'm not a fan of the 49ers quarterback because he . Kisses an admittedly well-muscled, highly-tattooed bicep after scoring a touchdown. He didn't get to kiss said bicep much last season, and he may not this year, either, because he's starting the season on the bench. Kaepernick's ritual of self-glorification is just one example of a modern sporting culture in which sportsmanship has been replaced with strutting, woofing and chest-thumping on seemingly every play. What I don't particularly mind is Kaepernick not standing at attention, hand over heart, for the pre-game national anthem. Before ye villagers and perhaps even a few Dear Readers storm The Sun with lit torches and sharp pitchforks, please allow me to explain my reasoning - and remember, I'm a Navy vet. (Dear Readers may recall my Jan. 8, 2015, column, "Playing The Veteran Card." If not, I'll email it to you for a buck, and read it in person or over the phone for five bucks. It helped win a second-place certificate in the 2016 KPA "Best Weekly Column" category. One of the judges wrote that he/she wished that he/she could give two first place awards, because he/she enjoyed the Veteran Card piece so much. I say, as a veteran, he/she should have followed the courage of his/her convictions.) Kaepernick says he's adopted the stance (he kneeled during the anthem in the 49ers final preseason game) to protest America's treatment of minorities, in particular mistreatment of blacks by some police officers. I'm not black, and I've never been mistreated by a police officer. Indeed, when discussing any matter with law enforcement personnel, I'm the politest fellow you could imagine. I respect their service and would prefer to keep intact my record of never getting a speeding ticket in the continental U.S. I did get two in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the speed limit most everywhere was 25 m.p.h. But I digress . Kaepernick's critics have said he is merely an attention-hungry bandwagon-jumper; that he should just be happy to be paid millions of dollars to play a game; and that he's showing disrespect to the police, our military, the flag and America itself. I choose to take him at his word and reserve judgment over whether sitting or kneeling during "The Star-Spangled Banner" is an appropriate way to express an opinion on a controversial matter. This pesky free speech thing, which I'm exercising right now, keeps getting in the way of complete condemnation. If my service in the U.S. Navy meant anything beyond collecting speeding tickets in Gitmo, I'd like to think it involved protecting the rights of folks back home to say and do things with which I disagree. Twice a week at the start of city council and fiscal court meetings, I rise with office-holders and other attendees to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I've not looked around to see if anyone's sitting it out. Maybe some are, and if so, maybe they're making a comment about a social injustice, or just realized at least one foot's fallen asleep. We've got plenty of problems in this country, and it seems to me that a pro football player not standing for the National Anthem does not rank highly among them. On the other hand, if taking a knee when the words of Francis Scott Key ring out leads us to begin talking and listening to each other, then perhaps Colin Kaepernick's sit-down strike is a worthy stance.

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