We as a nation love our mothers, our country and our football. That order may be juggled for some of you, and that's certainly OK.

If you remove the matriarchs from that list, the talking points of the weekend that did not touch Trump or Hillary involved the other.

First, there was the Colin Kaepernick self-motivated protest as he sat down during the flag presentation and national anthem.

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Green Bay Packers Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif.
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Jay Greeson

Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, has said more than once that his intention was not to insult the military. OK.

He can scream those intentions from the highest mountaintop, but there is a little thing called unintended consequences. Just like we have to respect his decision to take any stance he chooses, we do not have to like it. People's reactions are part of the fallout, and they create great ripples.

First, Kaepernick is perfectly free to sit, stand on his head or make snow angels when the national anthem is played. The millions of brave military servicemen and women throughout history have made all sorts of sacrifices for Kaepernick to have that right.

But folks need to remember that freedom of speech does not mean a freedom from fallout.

The 1st Amendment right to say and think and believe what you will is guaranteed.

Whether that decision costs you friends, fans, jobs and everything in between is part of the exchange.

Does it matter that Kaepernick has reportedly converted to Islam, and wore a Fidel Castro T-shirt and a Malcolm X hat to Sunday's meeting with reporters? Not really, and he appears willing to accept the consequences. Whatever his intentions, though, he does not get to tell anyone else how to react.

The reaction exposes the duplicity in serious matters in our overly politically correct society.

Look at the NFL, which said, "Players are encouraged but not required to stand." OK, but the NFL is trying to strongarm states about their legislation about bathroom usage — legislation that the majority of the voters in those states support.

Look at the freedom of choice and how Kaepernick gets to celebrate his decision to do what he wants at his job, but a cake maker in Washington state can't decide whom they will or won't serve because of religious beliefs.

This discussion should not be had on a one-way street.

That street is clogged even further with news from South Carolina, where a high school principal reportedly would not let a fan with an American flag into the stadium.

As reported by CBS, Travelers Rest High School Principal Lou Lavely told a student — and had an officer tell the student's older brother — that they were not allowed into the game against Berea last Friday night carrying an American flag.

Lavely said he made that decision because Berea has mostly a Hispanic student body and he believed the flag was going to be used to taunt the opponent.

Say what?

First, we are suffocated by regulations and legislation; and our political and corporate leadership spends too much time and effort on loophole-scenarios that swing between the worst possible behavior and avoiding a lawsuit.

It's stifling.

Secondly, if those guys were going to use the flag as a vehicle of taunting, while we certainly don't condone that, how is a person's right to bring a flag to a football game different from a person's right to refuse to respect a flag before a football game?

We are at a strange and perplexing place, and if we can engage in meaningful conversation — and embrace the consequences that come from them — well, that's at least a start.

Contact Jay Greeson at and 423-757-6343. His "Right to the Point" column runs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays on A2.