As you may have heard, San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick sat down during the national anthem at a preseason game Friday night to protest the treatment of minorities in America. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said afterward. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Today, in a story that has spread rapidly, The Intercept pointed out that a lyric in the third verse of the anthem actually celebrates the killing of slaves who were trying to earn their freedom by fighting for the British in the War of 1812. Not that Kaepernick needs this justification—it’s his right as a citizen to protest whatever he wants, and it takes courage to do so—but it literally shows that our national song has a part which cheers on the defeat of slave laborers who had the audacity to try to escape bondage.
Nevertheless, you can always count on some really terrible takes when an incident like this happens. In the list that follows, we’re not going to feature pure expressions of hate, but rather those that try to disguise that hatred with false equivalencies and other bad logic—and none of which even make the attempt to engage with his ideas. We could have included far more than ten, of course, but each one so perfectly represents a different line of attack that it seemed wiser to make them symbolic, and to stand in for the many. Consider this an idiot’s gallery, populated by semi-famous people who would rather curtail someone’s free speech—and spout a stupid opinion in the process—than address an obvious systemic issue in their own country. Commentary on each tweet will appear to the left of the photo.