When Colin Kaepernick decided to sit out the National Anthem at the San Francisco 49ers preseason game against the Packers, he lit a powder keg of controversy that has dominated TV airwaves and the Internet all week. His not-so-silent silent protest has been met with some support and plenty of disdain among his fellow players, coaches, executives, former players, celebrities, politicians and everybody else.
As Deray McKesson told Stephen Colbert, protesting “is about forcing a conversation in public.” In many ways, Kaepernick’s protest accomplished just that, it sparked a national conversation. What’s up for debate is whether or not people got the point, as a common point of contention is Kaepernick’s supposed disrespect of military personnel by refusing to honor the nation by standing up for the national anthem. Those opposed to Kaepernick’s decision often cite their military backgrounds, or that of family members or close friends as a reason for him to have protested another way, in turn completely disregarding the issues he was actually protesting.
Well, Tuesday evening, military personnel on Twitter took a stand of their own, pushing the hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick on Twitter and at one point becoming the no.1 trending topic in the world. Armed services members of all races, ethnicities, shapes, sizes, genders, ages and branches of the military took to Twitter to voice their support for Kaepernick. They didn’t all support his message, but many acknowledged his right to take a stand.