WATCH: Another Athlete Protests National Anthem, Get Ready For The Haters

When Colin Kaepernick first began his quiet protest for racial equality in the U.S., he didn’t have much support.

The NFL Quarterback was accused of being anti-American, anti-military, and especially anti-police.

The protest that garnered so much angry backlash was the act of sitting down during the playing of the National Anthem. Big whoop.

He also wore some socks with pictures of pigs wearing police hats. In the 1960s, we would have called that baby stuff. Today it was enough to bring out the pitchforks.

(Please note the racist use of the word “boy.”)

Slowly, though, more intelligent people began to express themselves. People like former NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He wrote an editorial for the Washington post asserting Kaepernick’s right to peacefully protest. The President of the United States agreed that Kaepernick has a constitutional right to protest.

More powerful than either of these high profile supporters, though, were the thousands of veterans who chose to back the football player. While the anti-Kaepernick crowd screamed that he was disrespecting the military by refusing to stand during the anthem, many veterans came out in support. Most of them said that they had been fighting to preserve our right to free speech, not to cut it off.

Now RawStory reports that soccer star Megan Rapinoe dropped to one knee during the anthem before her U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team game on Sunday afternoon. She said that she had taken the action in support of Colin Kaepernick. She said:

“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties.”

What a very gentle way to express that thought!

Ms. Rapinoe was more explicit in describing why she wanted to give a boost to Colin Kaepernick himself, not only to his cause. Knowing that the heart of the quarterback’s protest is racial inequality, she told the Guardian:

“It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. It was a little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now. I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t. We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country.”

I have to admit, people like Colin Kaepernick and Megan Rapinoe give me hope for the future. I hope that they keep up their peaceful protests. I hope that more people will join them.

I hope that the trolls finally figure out that this kind of peaceful action is exactly what the Founding Fathers were hoping to protect when they wrote the constitutional amendment guaranteeing free speech.

Featured image via YouTube screengrab.

Karen is a retired elementary school teacher with many years of progressive activism behind her. She is the proud mother of three young adults who were all arrested with Occupy Wall Street. To see what she writes about in her spare time, check out her blog at "Empty Nest, Full Life"