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Dear Colin,

Dear Colin Kaepernick,

I have a good reason to dislike you. You came to play against the Carolina Panthers, my home team, a few years ago. You scored a rushing touchdown. You mocked our quarterback, Cam Newton, by spreading your hands in a motion that Superman uses to rip off his shirt. I found that unsportsmanlike.

Not long after, then next year, maybe two, I'm not sure, you took a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest that our country has not kept its promises. That everyone isn't being treated equally despite the constitutional promise that all men (and as has since been asserted by our government, women) are created equal.

You are correct. You are right. I agree with you. I applaud your bravery in showing your disappointment in our government and I regret that it has caused career problems for you.

I understand the reason you took a knee. I support your right to do so. And thank you for starting the conversation.

Unfortunately, our non-presidential president turned what you did into something that it is not. He wants to turn it into a sign of disrespect for our country. I know better. I get it. I believe that you love this country, but that you felt you needed to call attention to the atrocities that people of color face in this great nation. That every citizen's legal equality is still largely a myth.

I love this country. I am grateful that I was born here. I love our flag and understand why there are 50 stars and 13 stripes. I love our national anthem and can sing every word of the first verse and I am sad that most of our citizens don't know that there are actually four verses. I love our military and I thank these tremendously brave young men and women for fighting, and far too often dying, for our freedoms.

Taking a knee versus standing with your hand on your heart during a presentation of our national anthem is not an insult to our country. It is our right.

I hope you find a job soon, preferably as a quarterback again. If you do, send me a ticket with a field pass. When they play the national anthem, I will gratefully take a knee beside you.

Just promise you'll never do that Superman thing again.

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