Signing Kaepernick will be seen to some as a quasi-endorsement of his activism, specifically his refusal to stand for the national anthem. While Kaepernick had to expect some blowback for his actions, it’s really not reasonable to assume that this continuing wave of negativity would hound him.
Like some of my peers, I didn't like doing that job. It made me nervous. But in the second grade I hadn't gotten to the point in my career as a student that I would have protested, or totally refused to do it.
The pledge came first. So I faced the flag, as required, and started saying the spiel with my hand over my heart. Except! I started saying the Lord's Prayer – “Our Father, which art in heaven...”
Naturally, the kids laughed ... a lot. I must have changed gears to say the proper speech, but I don't remember that part. The embarrassment and laughter I remember all too well.
Later some kids were sure I'd done it on purpose, perhaps because I was already somewhat of a class clown type. Or, maybe that came later. At some point it must have occurred to me that the pledge was sort of like a prayer, especially when a group says it unison.
Gradually, over the years, I did grow to be more and more uncomfortable with any kind of prayer/chant that is forced onto people. Maybe WWII movies about Nazis were influencing me.
Consequently, it has been a long time since I've put my hand over my heart during the National Anthem at games. I always stand, but I don't sing along. Yes, I've been glared at more than a few times, but there's never been a scene. Sometimes I flash back onto that time in the second grade when I was made to feel uncomfortable about forced patriotism.
By the way, CBS Sports reports that Kaepernick's San Fransisco jersey is currently the 17th best seller; whatever that means. Anyway, I'm rooting for Kaepernick, but I'll be surprised if he plays another down in the NFL. Which is just another reason why I'm less interested in professional football every year.