Colin Kaepernick Isn't Unpatriotic, Levi's Is

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick speaks at a news conference in New Orleans, January 30, 2013. (AJ Mast / The New York Times)San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick speaks at a news conference in New Orleans, January 30, 2013. (AJ Mast / The New York Times)

Even though the season doesn’t start for another two weeks, the National Football League is already embroiled in controversy.

The latest lightning rod for sports radio hot takes is San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who surprised pretty much everyone last week when he refused to stand for the national anthem during a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.

When asked why he did what he did, Kaepernick said he was trying to raise awareness about the fact that this country isn’t living up to the motto of “liberty and justice for all.”

See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.

He also said that he would continue to sit through the national anthem “until there’s significant change,” and the “flag represents what it’s supposed to represent.”

Not surprisingly, Kaepernick’s protest has sparked a firestorm of outrage, quite literally so in the case of one 49ers fan, who burned the quarterback’s jersey and then put a video of it on Facebook.

Conservative pundits in the media haven’t gone quite so far as that one 49ers fan — no one on “Fox So-Called News” has burned a jersey live on air, not yet at least — but they’ve been just as fierce in their criticism of the San Francisco quarterback.

According to these conservatives, Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the national anthem is deeply unpatriotic because it’s disrespectful to the military and the police who’ve given their lives to keep us safe.

Former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson gave a version of this argument during an appearance on Fox this weekend.

This is the standard conservative argument that comes up every time someone “disrespects” the flag or “insults” the military, and it’s just as wrong as now as it was the hundreds of other times someone used it to condemn a legitimate protest.

Right-wingers would never admit it, but using…

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