I’ll admit that I have gone back and forth on how I feel about National Anthem protests by players in the National Football League.

However this weekend the entire issue was elevated to another level by a president who refuses to understand that the impact of his words in his current job has much more meaning then when he was a reality TV star.

Up until this weekend the anthem protests, which started with now unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick 13 months ago, were limited to a very small percentage of African-American players.  By taking a knee while others stood they were trying to send a message that there needs to be greater conversation in this country about racial and social injustice.

Most Americans took exception, feeling that it was not only showing disrespect for our flag but the tens of thousands who have died to protect our freedoms and those putting their lives on the line today as well.

However if you looked past the headlines you will find that all the anthem protesters have made it clear they have nothing but respect for those in the military, past and present and their actions are not directed against the country but rather looking to make a statement that we can do better.

I may disagree with their actions (and I do) but one of our freedoms in this country is we can protest in a peaceful manner which is what these players chose to do.  Frankly I find their actions less objectionable than those who don’t stand still and talk during the anthem which I observe on a regular basis at high school sporting events.

The issue went to a new level when President Trump made inflammatory remarks on Friday, calling for fans to protest games and owners to fire players who did not stand during the playing of the anthem, even referring to them as SOB’s.  The response was swift, even from those NFL owners who supported Trump’s campaign and expressed disappointment with the President’s comments.

Sunday saw several NFL teams stay in the locker room during the playing of the anthem while others locked arms on the sidelines in a show of unity and support.

The true winner in all of this is Kaepernick who said all along his goal was to start a conversation and clearly that is taking place with an assist from a POTUS who pledged to unite our country and appears to be further dividing it.