American freedoms protect all speech — even when ridiculous

Published 8:46 am Thursday, September 1, 2016

Want a perfect definition of irony? Look no further than NFL football player Colin Kaepernick protesting the national anthem of a country built on the freedoms that allow him the right to do so in the first place.

Social media and the sports world has been abuzz for days after the San Francisco 49ers quarterback recently chose to remain seated during the national anthem prior to several preseason games.

Kaepernick said he was protesting against, well, despite his attempts to explain, I am not sure anyone is quite exactly sure what he was taking a stand on or why.

The beautiful thing is he has every right to protest and take this stance. However, we — as Americans and football fans — also have the right to say we think he is an idiot.

As much as people want to make his protest be about race, I am having a hard time seeing how it is about that at all. This is about a pampered athlete who is making tens of millions of dollars saying that our country condones and endorses oppression.

Give me a break.

Clearly our nation has challenges and socio-economic issues that must be overcome, but it’s hard to take someone driving a Bentley and living in a multimillion dollar mansion serious when they talk about standing up for the impoverished and persecuted.

The other thing that shouldn’t be lost in all this is, although the larger issue transcends sports, it shouldn’t be confused with the X’s and O’s component.

So when Kaepernick gets relegated to the bench or even cut by the 49ers it is just a matter of time before someone stands up and says he was punished because he took a controversial stance, was fighting the system and pushing for quality.

And all that is just pure nonsense.

Kaepernick will likely find himself in this position because he simply isn’t good enough.

Most of his success came while running the read-option offense, which is essentially a gimmick that was only going to fool NFL defensive coordinators and players for a short amount of time. Once they had film and time to focus on stopping it people saw that Kaepernick couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn when under pressure.

America is far from perfect, and there are many areas we must improve socially, but the concept that has worked amazingly for more than two centuries is providing rights for all of us to stand up for what we believe, even when the individual is as misguided as Kaepernick.

God bless America.


Michael Caldwell is the publisher of Leader Publications LLC. He can be reached at (269) 687-7700 or by email at