There is the logic of the thing, which can be briefly discussed, and then there is the fact of show business. I am speaking of the seated Colin Kaepernick.
The logic of the thing is pretty straightforward. Colin Kaepernick has the absolute right to remain seated for the national anthem, without fear of fines, penalties or other forms of undue pressure from the NFL. We never want to be in a position where we honor those men who fight for our freedom, and then vilify other men for exercising it. A lot of conservatives need to make sure they don’t become snowflakes of the right.
This is especially the case when we remember the context. Kaepernick is doing this in an NFL that has become a weather vane when it comes to PC issues. We are all aware of the fact that if an evangelical QB refused to stand for the national anthem in protest of Obergefell, the athlete in question would be destroyed by those who are currently whooping in favor of athletes exercising their right to free speech. Not only would there be an outcry for the NFL to “do something,” the NFL would in fact do something about it. So if we want to point out their inconsistency in this, we have to be careful not to be exhibiting it ourselves. The judgment with which ye judge, ye shall be judged.
But then there is also the show business aspect to this. What does Kaepernick owe his team? Besides trying hard not to tuck and run so much? He should show up for practices, obey the team rules, inspire the team, execute the plays, try hard to win, and cash his checks. That is the “punch the clock” aspect to it. But he needs also to remember that professional sports really are show business, and show business means that you are dependent upon the good will of the fans. Just as Kaepernick has the right to remain seated during the anthem, so also Joe Six-pack has the right to not buy his son a Kaepernick jersey for his birthday—not because of a concerted effort to boycott anything, but rather because a fan’s job is to like or dislike the celebrity offered up for public consumption. And—call this a hunch—the fans here are more important to his future success as a quarterback than he is important to their future happiness. The only way he can get out of the fix he put himself in would be to go undefeated through the season and then win the Super Bowl. That might do it.
Quite apart from the validity of the cause he is championing, the fact is that a multi-millionaire is making himself the leader of the downtrodden masses, and that is a hard sell. Donald Trump somehow pulled it off, but we may have used up our quota for 2016.