Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest movement has gained plenty of steam and seen many detractors stand in the way of it here in the United States, but it is also a talking point up north across the border. Toronto FC and United States Men’s National Team star forward Jozy Altidore has been paying attention to the news back home, and he has discussed the subject with reporters in Canada wanting to get his take on everything going on.
Altidore thinks the focus on the national anthem protest is off-the-mark.
“It’s something that everybody seems to be talking about, the protest that he is making,” Altidore told Sportsnet in a one-on-one chat. “But in terms of the message he’s trying to get across, to me, I think it’s being put on the backburner and getting overlooked. It’s a topic that’s really important right now, and it’s a topic amongst many that needs to be addressed. We need to figure out a way to move forward and not ignore these issues anymore.”
Spot-on analysis from Altidore here. It has been a couple of weeks now since this whole national anthem protest has taken flight, and the focus continues to come back to determining how, when and where people should ultimately voice their concerns rather than shifting the discussion to the actual focus of the protests.
Maybe we’ll get there at some point, but the discussion still seems to be hung up on whether coaches would discipline players for sitting during the national anthem or others pressuring people to stand for the national anthem.
Altidore praised Kaepernick for his motives and actions, suggesting it is not an easy thing to do.
“It’s not easy to speak your mind like he’s done in today’s world where everything gets scrutinized in an instant. People want athletes to speak their mind and then when we do, we sometimes get a hard time for it,” Altidore said. “I respect the fact he’s doing it his way. Whether or not that’s the right way to do it, you can talk about it and everyone is going to have their opinion. But in terms of him feeling that now is the time to take this stand, you have to respect him for exercising his right to free speech.”