Dear Mr. Kaepernick,

America’s population is composed of approximately 325 million people and counting. We are made up of blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, etc. We are classified as tall, skinny, wide, and short. Blonde, brunette, red-headed and bald are how you could describe some of us. We all differ from our neighbor in some way. We can’t all be professional ball players with all the influence you have. The one thing we have in common is that we all live in a great country where we are free to express our individuality; we are all Americans. You would think that would mean we would also share the same love and respect for our country, but I guess you are too busy “making a difference” to see what that flag means to others.

There are over 23 million veterans in this country… MANY who would love to have the ability to stand for our country’s song but can’t due to being injured fighting for this beloved country. While you and other athletes are payed millions to play a sport and entertain America, there is someone receiving a folded flag in memory of a loved one. There is a mom sending her child off not knowing whether he or she will make it home for Christmas. There is a solider holding tight to the idea of coming home and seeing his family for the first time in months and another praying that the war on our front line and the war in our hearts will be over soon. I cannot say I have felt the agony of losing a loved one to war. I cannot say I know what it feels like to be African-American in this world. But, I can say that I have felt sadness, and I have experienced pain. The world is not a fair place for an athlete, an average civilian, or a solider. That simple piece of cloth that you so easily disregard is a reminder of what this country has gone through, and it reminds us of the brave that have protected this nation and everything it stands for.

Mr. Kaepernick, you have the right to stay down during our national anthem but remember why you are allowed to kneel instead of stand. Remember what country you live in that gives you the freedom to do it. Remember the ones who sacrificed entire limbs, time with their families, or even their own life so you could enjoy yours. Imagine how your offensive guards—people who know you like a brother—have your back and protect you in the game. The people in the military, who don’t even know your name, are putting more than just a body in shoulder pads and helmets out on the line for your freedom. I support standing up for what you believe in; I support professional ball, but I do NOT support you or your choice of expression. You can change your method without changing your message. I have kindness in my heart for all races, but you, sir have disrespected this country and those who fight for it.

I would personally like to call you and others that have joined your movement a few choice words,but I will leave you with a good ole southern-Christian "bless your heart", instead.