“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” roared President Donald Trump during a 2017 speech in Alabama. He was attacking National Football League players who kneeled during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and social injustice. However, athletes clearly should possess the right to use their platform to effect social change.

More than a year earlier, the president had proclaimed Colin Kaepernick a “son of a bitch” for exercising his First Amendment right to protest. NFL Media reporter Steve Wyche covered Kaepernick’s movement from the beginning—when he sat, rather than kneeled, during the anthem. In an article written by Wyche, Kaepernick detailed the rationale behind his protest. He said he could not stand or show pride for a country that oppresses people of color. He went on to say that to remain a bystander would be a “selfish” act when there are “bodies are in the streets” and “people getting away with murder.”

One of the most outspoken critics of the movement Kaepernick inspired has been the President. He wrote on Twitter that “if a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem.” Yet, in a Politico article, Trump himself credits social media for his election. The president told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that, “I doubt I would be here if it weren’t for social media, to be honest with you.” Trump later stated that his social media accounts, with more than 125 million followers, provide “a tremendous platform.”

Trump was able to use his celebrity status to push his political agenda. So why should Kaepernick be silenced for advocating for something he believes in? All Americans should have the right to express themselves, regardless of the means through which they obtained a platform.

Two years have passed since Kaepernick’s movement began, and the issue has not been resolved. Since then, Kaepernick has been blackballed by the NFL but has been shown support by major corporations like Nike and its consumers. The question remains: is it acceptable for athletes, such as Colin Kaepernick, to use their platform to express their social ideologies? Is it acceptable for anyone, whether it be an athlete or even a politician, to use what they have done or are doing to influence the actions of others?

The resolutions to these questions remain controversial, as seen in several political campaigns. An opinion writer for the Washington Post, for example, wrote that the protests will help Republicans in the midterm elections. In Texas, Beto O’Rourke, the unsuccessful Democratic challenger to Senator Ted Cruz, responded to a question about players taking a knee during the anthem with a comment that went viral. “Reasonable people can disagree on this issue,” he said. “And it makes them no less an American to come down on a different conclusion.” O’Rourke, a white man, spoke to the history of the black experience in the country. He connected the protests today to the Civil Rights Movements of the 1950s and 60s.

“And so nonviolently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching these games, they take a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this problem to ensure that we fix it. That is why they are doing it,” he continued. “And I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights, anytime, anywhere, in any place.”

The people of these United States hold many rights. One of them is not the right to suppress others while they are being treated unjustly. It is acceptable to agree or disagree with Kaepernick. It is not acceptable to silence him.