As a veteran who risked his life for our country, I don’t believe that those NFL players taking a knee or banding together during the playing of our national anthem are being disrespectful of our flag.
They are exercising their First Amendment rights to peacefully protest issues — a right defended by our service members who fought and died for our country.
To call attention to social injustices that must be addressed — including racism and the inequities of our criminal justice system — the best tool these players have is their place on the stage of a national sporting event which millions watch.
And although these players are well paid, many of them had to work tirelessly to overcome hurdles others of us didn’t have to face to achieve success. A number of these players are active members of their community, visiting hospitals and shelters and working to solve community problems.
It’s not a political party or presidential issue, but our president chose to make it a national issue by tweeting that these players should be fired. Fortunately for those of us who love football, and our country, this hasn’t happened.