As Sept. 11 and the first full day of the NFL season converge on Sunday, Arrowhead Stadium and others across the league will be draped in both the solemnity and celebration.
Amid all that, at the end of “The Star-Spangled Banner” here, thousands will exercise their First Amendment right to free expression by bellowing “home of the Chiefs” instead of “home of the brave.”
Meanwhile, in the wake of Colin Kaepernick’s preseason protests and their momentum, many eyes doubtless will be scanning sidelines across the nation to see which players also are invoking the privilege that distinguishes the United States from many countries.
There is no real way to know if your regular programming at Arrowhead will be interrupted by Chiefs players sitting or taking a knee or otherwise joining in solidarity with Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback whose stance is in objection to oppression of African-Americans and against police brutality.
But at least several Chiefs have been contemplating the implications of an infinitely thought-provoking topic for those willing to listen instead of just react. Those people can reconcile that sympathy to Kaepernick’s cause isn’t mutually exclusive to believing there are many wonderful police and that it’s tragic every time an officer dies serving us all — as we’ll be reminded of on Sunday at Arrowhead with the honoring of the late Detective Brad Lancaster and Capt. Robert Melton of the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department as their families are on the field.
To say nothing of our precious military veterans, who Kaepernick has repeatedly stressed are not the object of his protest.
The possibilities for seeking common ground are illustrated on the illuminating Twitter timeline #veteransforkaepernick and in various constructive engagements Kaepernick has had with vets, including NFL free agent and former Green Beret Nate Boyer.
Like Kaepernick’s methods or not, and those awful pig socks he was wearing hurt his cause no matter how he explains them, he has done something substantial by provoking another tier of discussion.
“I salute Colin for what he’s doing; he’s standing up for a great cause,” second-year Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters said Friday.