Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem has the sports world buzzing and overflowing with blazing hot takes. Well, get prepared for another round of those, because on Thursday night Kaepernick’s San Francisco 49ers travel to face the San Diego Chargers. Not only is San Diego a big-time military town, but the Chargers will also be hosting their 28th Annual Salute to the Military.
The Chargers said they have been planning this event for months and hold it every preseason, so any connection to the Kaepernick controversy is completely random. There will be a huge military presence during pregame festivities, with the Marine Band San Diego playing, the Frog X parachute team jumping in to Qualcomm Stadium, and the national anthem will be performed by Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Powell of the Navy. Meanwhile, 240 sailors, marines and soldiers will present a “U.S. Super Flag” on the field.
Kaepernick says his protest is not aimed at the military in any capacity, and that he has family who have fought for the country. Still, many have taken his decision to sit during the anthem as a shot at the heart of America, which would include the military. So yeah, he’s going to face some stiff opposition for his decision to remain down during Thursday night’s anthem in San Diego.
No matter which side you fall on in this debate, the reaction from the crowd and the military members in attendance Thursday night should be fascinating to watch. Whether people love or hate what Kaepernick is doing, they are talking about him and discussing issues they may not have previously engaged with each other on (trust me, my Facebook feed is filled with those conversations).
Is Kaepernick right? That’s not for me to decide, but he is certainly accomplishing something by getting people to talk.