The American Family Association, a Christian activist group, called for the NFL to discipline San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his silent, peaceful protest against police brutality and discrimination of African-Americans.
Kaepernick has been refusing to stand during the national anthem when it has been played before pre-season games, and has said that he will continue doing so.
In its online petition posted on Sept. 1, the AFA said that "Kaepernick disrespected the United States, the NFL and his team" with his refusal to stand.
The AFA also cited a CBS News report from Sept. 1 about Kaepernick wearing socks that appear to depict a cartoon pig wearing a police officer's cap.
The AFA described the socks as a "great disrespect for police officers," and said that Kaepernick's "actions continue to embarrass all professional sports and bring reproach on his team."
The AFA also tried to speak for the entire country: "America is also stunned at his overt disrespect for the nation that guarantees him the freedom to earn millions of dollars each year."
However, The Intercept reported on Aug. 31 about the hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick that has been trending on social media among active-duty and retired military personnel.
According to the Smithsonian Institute website, part of the lyrics of the national anthem actually make mention of slaves who cannot be saved:
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Back on the AFA's website, the Christian group stated:
It is important for the NFL to take necessary steps to insure that its players, coaches, and teams show proper respect for our country and our police officers. If Kaepernick is allowed to continue his deeply offensive actions, it will only lead to other such movements by other players in the future.
Sign the petition calling on the NFL to take disciplinary action against Colin Kaepernick for his disrespectful actions while engaged in official NFL activities.
It's not clear what "other such movements" could be, but the NFL has already defended Kaepernick's First Amendment rights:
The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens.
In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.