San Diego

‘I Think You Have to Respect the Flag': Veterans in San Jose React to Kaepernick's Protest

Veterans in the Bay Area reacted Thursday to Colin Kaepernick's continued sideline protest of the national anthem. The 49ers quarterback took a knee this time during the pregame ritual. He was joined by teammate Eric Reid.

And while many veterans came to Kaepernick's defense this week, using #VeteransForKaepernick on Twitter to express their support, there are still some who are disappointed in his actions.

"I see it but I don't like it," said Don Frank, a Korean War veteran who was watching the telecast of the preseason game in San Diego at San Jose pool hall CueTopia. "I served four years during the Korean War, and I think you have to respect the flag." 

Some have even considered not watching their home team.

"Anybody's who's been in the military, it's hard not to cry during the anthem," said Ken Graham, CueTopia owner and also a veteran. "The flag is so symbolic of so many sacrifices."

These veterans have seen reaction across the nation, both positive and negative, to Kaepernick's stance. They aren't about to burn Kaepernick's No. 7 jersey or curse his name, they said. They'll just hold their hands over their hearts for all those who refuse to.

"Home of the land and the free and the brave," Frank said.

Kaepernick once again clarified his stance after Thursday's game.

"The media painted this as I'm anti-American, anti-military, and that''s not the case at all," he said. "I realize the men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put themselves in harm's way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country and my freedom to take a seat or take a knee."

Kaepernick plans on donating $1 million of his earnings this season to charities that support his cause.

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