I haven't done any writing on the current rash of national-anthem protests, of which Colin Kaepernick is the lead poster boy. I'm not a big flag-waver, so I'm not all that taken aback when Kaepernick either sits down (at first) or kneels (currently) in order to pay attention to police being trigger-happy around blacks as of late.
However, other reflexively patriotic folks have a sense of sacredness to things like the Flag, the Pledge of Allegiance and proper respect for, and behavior during, the national anthem. For such folks, that behavior is like letting a hot and juicy fart in the middle of a sermon, it breaks the communitarian uniformity and sullies the civil-religion moment.
When you add old-school folks reflexively siding with the police and associate criticism of the police with anti-establishment, defiantly cocky, fry-some-bacon chanting agitators, they go into love-it-or-leave-it mode, not thinking that they might love this country, too, but want to make positive changes to how police deal with citizenry and have the system less stacked against black young men.
If you're of a certain age, the hip-hop flavored secular swagger of BLM fans will look a bit like the Black Panthers and other Black Power types. The raised fist protest, emulating two 1968 Olympic sprinters who did so on the medal podium, hearkens back to that era. Modern civil rights mythology puts Smith and Carlos up alongside Ali and King as counter-cultural protesters, standing up to The Man and deserving credit for following their consciences. However, King preached to the better angels of white nature, while Ali and others often had an antagonistic attitude; I got the feeling that King was making an impassioned but reasoned argument while the black-power types seemed this close to flipping the honkies the bird.
That's one reason why I have much less issue with Kaepernick than with some Michigan and MSU players doing a Smith-Carlos homage as of late. Kaepernick seems to be more respectful of the non-black football fan. His take seems to be a bit simplistic and formulaic, but kneeling isn't quite as in your face as the raised fist, at least for this old-timer who lived through those 60s-70s times as a kid; the fists give "bad optics" carrying a message that might not be intended by folks who's parents weren't even born in 1968.
Black lives do matter. All lives do, but we tend to wash our hands of inner-city violence. Growing up in a very-white Midland, my mom would grumble at the local news, noting that it was either "who got shot in Flint and what house burned down in Saginaw" or "who got shot in Saginaw and what house burned down in Flint", the two towns in the media market with black, inner-city areas; the inner city was another, lesser world from Sparkle City.
Thus, there is a tendency to ignore yet another shooting of a black suspect, assuming that the perp had it coming. That's what the protesters are inelegantly trying to change. You might have a few protesters who would like to give the average white-guy the bird, but quite a few love this place to and want to improve it.
It is, at the end of the day, a song. It's not God getting dissed, or even the country, just one aspect of it that could use some improvement.
NBA commish Silver chimed in-"It would be my hope that they continue to stand for the national anthem. I think that is the appropriate thing to do." If they don't, it wouldn't be the end of the world. They either stand up or unclench their hands, take off their sweats, line up for the opening tip, and play some hoops. That's what we're there for at the end of the day; many broadcasts will go off to commercial for it, anyways.