I get where you’re coming from, but the issue is it’s very difficult to address anything with these folks without quickly coming up against the “Trump effect”.
In the case of the NFL protests, you could point out that Kaepernick began by siting on the bench, but after consulting with multiple United States veterans switched to kneeling because they themselves told him it was a sign of respect. You can point out that a lot of the outrage that focuses on “disrespecting the flag” is kind of ironic given that we break flag code every day by creating and using clothing, paper goods and advertising with flag images on them. You can also point to the many athletes who have been quoted, especially this week, as stating specifically that the kneeling is not out of disrespect for the flag or American veterans, but a call for help to grant minority communities the very same respect people are so keen to accuse them of trashing. That BLM isn’t about being anti-cop, it’s not about Black Lives mattering MORE, but about minority lives mattering equally. The Declaration of Independence states that “All Men Are Created Equal”, and yet almost 250 years later in America that phrase is still not entirely true, as we see people of different races, religions and cultures treated with suspicion and disrespect nearly every day in this very country.
That is what this protest is about. It is about having the respect and love for your country enough to understand something is not right, that the values and rights that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution put in place have not always been applied equally to all Americans. Such a protest can’t be “done on your own time”, because it reaches no one that way. In 1968 at the Olympic Games, Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists above their bowed heads during the National Anthem, igniting a firestorm of controversy that saw them blasted as disrespectful and ungrateful by the media and kicked off the U.S. Olympic team, even though that was the furthest thing from the truth. Sound familiar? Today they are widely regarded as heroes of the Civil Rights movement. Unfortunately that movement is still ongoing, despite all the efforts of people like Smith and Carlos, Dr. King, Ms. Parks and many others. Kneeling is the 2017 Civil Rights movement, it’s not disrespecting the country at all, rather it’s a call to the country for help in finally bringing racism, injustice and inequality to an end in a country founded on the tenet that All Men Are Created Equal.
If they can’t accept that argument, or at least acknowledge it’s worth, then I’m afraid they may simply be racist (or stupid, or both), plain and simple, and nothing is going to open their eyes.