When I got busted for not taking my hat off at a wrestling meet in high school during the national anthem, I wasn't trying to make any political statement. I was an idiot kid who simply forgot to show the proper respect. My high school principal quickly showed me the error of my ways. Our national anthem is at the center of a firestorm again as NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat for the third straight pre-season game during The Star Spangled Banner. His reason? He stated that he isn't going to stand and show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people.

First of all, Kaepernick has every right to do what he did. His actions are protected under the First Amendment and free speech. That being said, Kaepernick also has to live with the backlash that he is receiving. That's the flip side of free speech. For those who mock the quarterback and claim he has no respect for our military, I understand why you feel that way. When I stand for the national anthem, remove my hat and gaze at the flag, I'm honoring the men and women who have given their lives for our country. Kaepernick has gone on to say that his not standing has nothing to do with the military and that he has the utmost respect for people who wear the uniform. Then why make such a confrontational statement?

I remember growing up in the Michael Jordan era. He was the most popular athlete on earth. His influence knew no bounds. But Jordan never really STOOD up for anything. It's something his detractors have a point in. His famous reason for not standing up for social issues? Republicans buy shoes too. It took Jordan years to see the error of his ways. Now, he speaks up for social issues and has donated millions of his own dollars to causes he believes in. We want athletes to use their platform to speak up and make a difference. Yet when they do, if they don't do it in the manner WE see fit, we tear them down for it. Kaepernick's stage is as an NFL quarterback. This is his way of shedding light on a cause he believes strongly in. I personally don't care for how he is doing it, but I respect the fact that he is trying.

One more quick story for all of you still throwing Kaepernick and everyone else who may kind of agree with him under the bus. During The Back Porch Revival concert at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday night, they took a moment and had a woman come out and sing the national anthem. As I stood there with Chase, my hat off and hand over heart, I looked around the crowd and was amazed at how many people were still wearing their hats. Yet no one is writing a blog about them today. No one will point out ignorance or laziness. Instead, we pounce on those who just might stand for something. God Bless America.