Major League Baseball Says Anthem Protests ‘Never Been About the Flag,’ Kaepernick Disagrees

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Saying that these protests have “never been about the flag,” Major League Baseball became the most recent pro sport to condone protests during the national anthem.

On Monday, members of the New York Giants took a knee during the national anthem for a game against the Oakland A’s played before a stadium filled with cardboard cut-outs of fans.

The San Francisco Giants proudly tweeted images of the players and coaches protesting against the country on Monday:

The league itself gave the protest its official imprimatur with its own tweet of the players kneeling:

But the league did not stop there. Using its official Twitter account, MLB refuted fans’ assertions that the league is now condoning attacks on the flag and our troops.

In one reply to a complaint, MLB insisted that these protests have “never been about the military or the flag. The players and coaches are using their platforms to peacefully protest.”

This claim that taking a knee during the anthem is not about the flag is a popular revision of what the man who started the protests actually said when he started the ball rolling in 2016.

When he first began his protests in 2016, former NFL player Colin Kaepernick said quite directly that he could not stand for the American flag. His protest was a direct attack on the flag and the country, and he said so in his own words in August of 2016.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” Kaepernick said.

Kaepernick gave other clues about the nature of his protests in 2016, as well. For instance, he wore a shirt praising Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, a mass murderer, and self-professed enemy of America. Kaepernick also showed that he was not just protesting the few police that misbehave when he wore socks that portrayed all police officers as pigs.

Also, in 2016, Kaepernick said that the U.S. was never great, noting that he was standing up against the whole country in general, not just in support of “social justice,” with his anthem protests.

The former NFL player also made his protest about the flag when he persuaded Nike to ditch its Betsy Ross flag shoes in 2019. Nike announced that it intended to release a patriotic gym shoe with a Betsy Ross Flag theme until Kaepernick ginned up the anti-American left to attack Nike for the proposal. In one of his broadsides against Nike, Kaepernick even claimed that the U.S. Betsy Ross flag was a “symbol of slavery.”

Unsurprisingly, Nike immediately caved in and dumped the plans for the patriotic shoe.

And, most recently, Kaepernick took to Twitter during this year’s 4th of July celebrations, to call the festivities a “celebration of White supremacy.”

According to Kaepernick, America has “dehumanized, brutalized, criminalized + terrorized” blacks for centuries. He further called the celebrations commemorating the nation’s founding a “celebration of white supremacy.”

So, if MLB thinks taking a knee during the national anthem was “never about the flag,” the league may want to check in with the man famous for starting the very protest MLB is now supporting. That man was particular that his protests were, indeed, about opposing the flag and the country.

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