America put the heat on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he refused to stand for the National Anthem at last Friday's pre-season game. But at Thursday night's game against the San Diego Chargers, Kaepernick may be thrown from the frying pan into the fire.
If Kaepernick sits out activities that “show respect for the flag” as he has promised to do, he will have to do so while the fans around him cheer on the following:
- Pregame entertainment will be provided by the Marine Band San Diego.
- The Frog X parachute team, featuring retired Navy SEALs, will leap into Qualcomm Stadium.
- The National Anthem will be performed by Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Powell from the U.S. Navy.
- 240 sailors, marines and soldiers will present a U.S. Super Flag and service emblems from all branches of service.
- Color guards from the Navy, Marine Corps and Army will present the flag.
- Six Vietnam War veterans will be honored at halftime in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the war.
- Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Powell will return to sing “God Bless America.”
The public outcry following Kaepernick's flag protest led Myke Tavarres, the Philadelphia Eagles rookie who initially claimed that he would join in on sitting out the National Anthem, to already release a statement — through his agent — walking back his support. His agent explained:
“As a rookie, his goal is not to be a distraction for the Eagles. His coaches at Incarnate Word and I advised him to stand.”
But Kaepernick has told the press that he has no intention of reversing his position, claiming that the flag doesn't represent freedom and justice “for all”:
“I'll continue to sit. I'm going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me this is something that has to change. When there's significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it's supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it's supposed to, I'll stand.”
America is expecting fireworks - and not just the display scheduled for the halftime show finale:
The Salute to the Military is an annual event for the Chargers, but the team's connections to military service run deep. Several players on the current roster have parents, siblings or cousins who have served — and fullback Chris Swain is in the Navy Reserves.