Less than 24 hours after the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, football fans at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California paused for a moment of silence prior to the San Francisco 49ers-Los Angeles Rams regular-season opener as “The Star-Spangled Banner” played in the background.
There, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick continued his ongoing protest against what he deems are wrongdoings against African-Americans and minorities in the United States by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem.
Kaepernick’s refusal to to stand during the playing of the tune has ignited debate across the sport of football, and beyond about patriotism, protest, and professional sports, rubbing many Americans the wrong way.
In stark contrast to Kaepernick was his 49ers teammate, former Alabama football player and current 49ers defensive lineman Quinton Dial. During Monday night’s game he stepped off the sideline and held the American flag with members of the armed forces during the playing of the National Anthem.
Alabama 6th District U.S. Congressman Gary Palmer calls Dial’s act courageous.
“Last night Quinton Dial took a courageous stance in support of America and our military,” said Palmer. “While his teammate protested the national anthem by kneeling as it played, Quinton proudly stood by members of our armed forces and helped them display the American flag for all to see. I applaud Quinton’s actions and his pride in our great nation. I’m proud to call him my fellow American.”