Cornell William Brooks, president of the NAACP, recently insisted it was “not a stretch” to associate Colin Kaepernick, a football star refusing to stand for the National Anthem, with Civil Rights heroine Rosa Parks, who refused to move to the back of a bus in 1955.
Actually, it is a stretch—and an insult to the heroism of the Civil Rights revolution and its leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, who launched the Montgomery bus boycott in response to Ms. Parks’ experience. Rosa Parks was a victim of segregation, denied the fundamental right to keep her seat on public transport; Kaepernick is a millionaire athlete who’s been denied very little in his privileged life.
Moreover, Dr. King embraced patriotic symbols: he proudly honored the flag and the Constitution as means to arouse the conscience of America. He never would have disrespected the anthem, rejecting such a hostile gesture as counterproductive and, in fact, contemptible.