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NFL players have a constitutional right to protest the national anthem

04 October 2017

One thing I did see and like over the course of the weekend was the action of many teams, including the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who elected not to kneel but to lock arms as a way of showing solidarity among teammates. Sam had a lovely moment when he was drafted; despite the free fall of multiple rounds past his projection, he was still ecstatic to be picked and kissed his boyfriend on national television as part of his celebration.

Several Cleveland Browns players held their fists high during the anthem before their game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Sam ended up not even making a roster, despite his terrific performance in that year's preseason, and has since retired from football. Under the most polarizing political climate in my lifetime, the National Football League has become a heartening example of what athletes can accomplish simply by using their huge platforms. The protests that have occurred have been in protest of people of color dying for no reason other than the color of their skin, the police officers who acted when they should not have and the lack of effect afforded to each abuser.

Kaepernick was immediately vilified. There also is no element of government in play to consider redress of grievances. But when our delusional POTUS wants to put millions of people's lives at risk because one bully hurt another bully's feelings, then I might have to admit I must not be too bright to love this country so much.

Still, Kaepernick stayed with it.

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The symbolic gesture of protest during the traditional playing of "The Star Spangled Banner" was adopted by some African-American players over the a year ago to protest against racial disparities in the criminal justice system. It's seemingly on a weekly basis that an unarmed black person is gunned down by police.

It happens that my wife and I are proud owners of the Green Bay Packers (two of more than 360,000).

Kaepernick's message of black oppression has spread.

The real motive behind the NFL Team Owners' decision to take a knee may never be known to anyone else except to themselves.

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Fox Sports says it won't broadcast any live coverage of the national anthem during today's NFL games, except for this week's London games between the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints. I did not watch any pro football. "If the protests start, we'll have to address it".

I see the irony: the foundation of these young men's right to free speech is the U.S. Constitution, which outlines the organizing principles of our nation.

Please wear your American flag pin to show unity for our flag and national anthem. I hope that by "taking a knee", these players will encourage more Americans to "stand up" against corruption and injustice.

Yet no matter what these players and coaches think, the league is a business - and the NBA does not want to lose money and ratings, as is happening to the NFL, just because some of its players might want to politicize the national anthem. I have had a long and successful career. As bad as it seems, some individuals have found a silver lining and are capitalizing on it for their selfish interests, and for such an issue of national interest to be taken advantage of by a few individuals is not right and should be rebuked in harshest possible terms by all Americans of good will. It doesn't occur to me that rooting around in my purse or in the glove compartment for my license and registration might cause an officer to feel threatened and shoot me in "self-defense".

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NFL players have a constitutional right to protest the national anthem