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NFL Thursday Night; Cardinals at 49ers

The hoopla surrounding Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protests has quieted just in time for me to weigh in. (Photo by CHRIS CARLSON, AP)

Carson Palmer is out, which means Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert will take center stage in front of a national audience. CAN YOU FEEL THE EXCITEMENT? CBS should pay the 49ers to start Colin Kaepernick. The quality of the game may not improve but it certainly would boost the NFL’s sagging prime time ratings.

Speaking of Kaepernick, allow me to get my two cents in, albeit a month late. I understand both sides of the argument, and I’m pretty sure there is no right or wrong here. Would I protest the national anthem? No. For all its flaws, the United States strives to be a free country of equal opportunity and justice for all. It succeeds in that area more than any other country in the world. It’s greed, hatred and fear that undermine equality, freedom and justice.

Protesting the National Anthem just doesn’t add up to me. Kaepernick was born in the United States. The recently departed Jose Fernandez was not. Fernandez risked death countless times and was jailed simply for the opportunity to live in this country. There are hundred of thousands of refugees fleeing their countries at this very moment. Others exist under the rule of violent tyrants. Some are embattled in never-ending, bloody civil wars. America isn’t quite everything it wants to be, and it never will be, but protesting a song and flag that symbolize its purest ideals lacks awareness.

Now that in no way means, “be happy with what you’ve got because others have it worse.” Not at all. Kaepernick is right that the general treatment of African Americans, especially the killings at the hands of police, is unacceptable. I’m not sure why that angers so many Americans. These are our neighbors, coworkers, friends, families and fellow countrymen crying out. We should hurt when they hurt. What Kaepernick is asking for is everything we love about our country. While I don’t support his protest of our flag and national anthem, I do wonder what other method could have garnered such attention. The method of protest should never nullify the cause. The cause is noble. The cause is just. Kaepernick wants what I want for my country. Only one of us has suffered from its shortcomings.

Racial tensions in this country and the presidential debates over the past month have made it clear our society must listen more and speak less. When African Americans say, “we’re hurting,” hear that people are in need instead of defending why you’re not part of the problem. Try to understand that someone’s protest isn’t necessarily an indictment of you but rather a cry for help. I believe (and hope) a large majority of this country wants the same thing for all its citizens. We’re just too busy shouting over each other and defending ourselves to listen to what anyone is saying. Maybe that’s why Kaepernick’s silent protest is so hard to ignore. CARDINALS If I were Charles Barkley; 49ers +3.5

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