I would guess that many of the people who are expressing their sanctimonious objections to peaceful, respectful protest in football stadiums, are the same people who object to the spontaneous expressions of protest that have broken out in response to police killing unarmed, black youth.
What approach then, to focus the lens of America on this issue, is acceptable? In the minds of people objecting to the anthem protests, there probably isn't one. Protesting is extraordinarily uncomfortable for people who try to pretend that the country is perfect.
While this country represents the greatest example of humankind’s attempts at self government and freedom, it is still a country that is an imperfect union, and it is people of color who have experienced a disproportionate level of discrimination and oppression that continues today. It is not disrespectful or inappropriate to continue to call that out and do what patriots have done since America's founding — work to find that more perfect union.
There are serious, potentially fatal flaws in this country that need to be addressed. Stop focusing on what the protests are not about. They are not disrespect for the flag, the military, first responders, or apple pie. Take a moment to think about what they are calling attention to.
The flag and the anthem celebrate the obligation, of us all to call out America's flaws and fix them. It is not a flag of fealty. It does not represent the military or first responders. While you may choose to honor football players by reflecting before a football game, others are not obligated to do the same. If you allow our leaders to demean and attempt to deny the rights of people of color to protest, then you are, at a minimum, tolerating racism.
John C. Hart; Pittsford, NY
I am 69 years old. I am a white man who was raised near Birmingham, Ala. I grew up during the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. I am compelled to address recent events involving the NFL, African-American professional football players, our flag and our president.
No matter who one voted for, I hope it is understood that what President Trump did and said in Huntsville, Ala., was completely wrong. No president should ever stand in a public forum and call an American citizen a derogatory name, as Trump did when referring to football players who kneel in protest. Not only is that unpresidential, it is immoral, despicable, disgusting, degrading and beneath the dignity of the presidency and of humanity itself.
I have heard many things said about NFL football players who choose to protest, many of those things very ugly, most said by white people: They are unpatriotic. They hate our country. They are ingrates. They disrespect our military. They are spoiled, pampered, rich kids, living off the lamb of the goodness of the country they despise.
But aren't they merely young, successful free market capitalists, who also are interested in racial justice. Normally in America we applaud success, especially if it is rags to riches success. We applaud those who, through hard work and applying themselves, make something of themselves. Well, to make it to the NFL is exactly that story.
Let’s stop the harsh rhetoric and divisive language. Instead let’s seek liberty and freedom and justice for all Americans. It is up to white Americans to lead in this effort rather than fanning the flames.
Ray Harris; Miramar Beach, Fla.