Colin Kaepernick is receiving support for his decision to sit during the national anthem from a surprising source: military veterans.
The hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick began trending on Twitter late Tuesday night as military personnel from across the country and those stationed around the world tweeted photos in uniforms, standing in solidarity with the 49ers quarterback.
Kaepernick came under fire not standing during the national anthem before an NFL preseason game Friday in protest for what he called the oppression of black people and people of color in the United States. Many interpreted his stance as unpatriotic and a show of disrespect to those who serve our country.
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He got further grief from area law enforcement agencies who did not agree with his post-practice comments later in the week on police training and use of force.
But Kaepernick has also received support, including the backing of NBA legend and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post and spoke in San Francisco about free speech rights.
And on Tuesday night, military personnel from across the nation came to his defense, saying his decision not to stand during the playing of the national anthem is one of the very rights they've fought for.
#VeteransForKaepernick was the number one trending topic worldwide on Twitter Tuesday night. It came two days after the popular Mercury News sports columnist Marcus Thompson II addressed the Kaepernick debate in a powerful column about his sister, who served in Iraq, and is now helping veterans. He wrote that "too many Americans feel like honoring veterans happens during national anthems at sports events. Because our affection for soldiers and their sacrifice is mostly confined to a two-minute rendition of a song."
He said his sister fought for Kaepernick's freedom to express himself. And he called on those criticizing the football player to ask themselves: "What are you doing to help someone else?"