NFL players are exercising First Amendment rights

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As a veteran who risked his life for our country, I disagree with Mr. Nitcy (in his guest opinion) on his stance against NFL players taking a knee or banding together during the playing of our national anthem.

They are not “protesting our American flag and national anthem,” as he says, but rather exercising their First Amendment rights to peacefully protest issues — a right defended by our service members who fought and died for our country.

The social injustices that must be addressed, including racism, and the inequities of our criminal justice system, have been unsolved for many years. The best tool that these players have to call attention to these issues is their place on the stage of a national sporting event which millions watch.

It’s true that these athletes work for owners and sponsors who make millions from these games. 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. And a number of these players are active members of their community, visiting hospitals and shelters and working to solve community problems

I agree 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 by their owners. Fortunately for those of us who love football, and our country, this hasn’t happened.

JAMES W. RAMSEY

Kootenai

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