What does patriotism, the military, and the National Anthem have to do with athletes protesting unfair laws and injustices? The answer is they don’t and never did.
Practicing free speech, using the First Amendment, and kneeling down at football games have nothing to do with being unpatriotic. Exercising these rights is an American way of saying something is wrong in our society and needs to be changed. All groups in our society practice these beliefs including white supremacists and segregationists, who most people in society find disgusting.
Just because athletes protest against injustice doesn’t make them un-American. If so, our American way of rising up against evil and injustice would vanish and our democracy would cease to exist. If we feel so strongly against certain groups, maybe we need to look inwardly so we don’t get caught up in racism or bigotry.