Sports, patriotism and the flag have been so “conflated” that people can’t separate out any nuance, Costas said. “If you go to see Hamilton, which is about the founding of the republic, no one says, ‘Wait a minute! Don’t raise the curtain until we hear the national anthem.'”
But it’s de rigueur in sports, which Costas said is sometimes moving and sometimes cynical, “because wrapping yourself in the flag, and honoring the military, is something which no one is going to object to. What it has come to mean is that the flag is primarily and only about the military?” Costas argued.
“This is no disrespect to the military,” he insisted about those NFL players who are kneeling during the national anthem. “Martin Luther King was a patriot; Susan B. Anthony was a patriot. Dissidents are patriots.”
Patriotism, Costas complained, has been turned into a “bumper-sticker kind of flag-waving” about the military only.
NFL protesters know most policemen not only are not guilty of misbehavior and many are heroic dedicated public servants, the sportscaster maintained. “But there is still a problem of police brutality.”