Responses to NFL protests during the national anthem have divided the nation and resulted in a dangerous reality for democracy.

The debate over kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the U.S. seems to have reached a new milestone, with the Philadelphia Eagles having their invitation to the White House revoked by Donald Trump.

Per tradition, the Super-Bowl-winning team was invited to meet with Trump, but much of the team backed out. In response, Trump issued this official statement on June 4, the day before the event:

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Sometimes the smallest actions can have the biggest impact.

All former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did was sit down. He didn’t shout, he didn’t stomp, he didn’t set anything on fire — he simply didn’t stand up during the national anthem.

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.

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Shannon Sharpe does not mince words. And he has no patience for bullshit.

So if anyone was going to speak truth to power when it came to the displays of "unity" and "solidarity" across the NFL last weekend — following President Donald Trump's inflammatory comments suggesting players protesting during the national anthem should be fired — it would be him. Sharpe did not disappoint, delivering a fiery sermon from the desk of Fox Sports' "Undisputed," saying he was "disappointed and unimpressed."

For nearly eight minutes, an eternity in broadcast time, Sharpe raised the issue of the hypocrisy he saw on Sunday.

Hundreds of players kneeled during the anthem. Others stood but locked arms in a show of solidarity or unity. Former players, front office executives, and owners joined in too. A number of teams as well as the league itself released statements about free speech and unity. And while the public displays looked great on camera, Sharpe wanted to know the answer to an important question: What was everyone actually uniting against?  

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In a shocking Sept. 6 tweet, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett says he was subjected to racist abuse at the hands of Las Vegas police.

The outspoken Pro-Bowler said he was singled out and mistreated for "simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Michael Bennett. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

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