Anne Merdinger: NFL players are honoring what you say they are protesting | TheUnion.com

Anne Merdinger: NFL players are honoring what you say they are protesting

Other Voices
Anne Merdinger

I read Bob Larive's letter expressing his disgust with the NFL. I respect his right to his opinion, but I would like to offer a different, and I believe more accurate, perspective.

Larive has chosen to accept the narrative that the players taking a knee are doing it as a sign of disrespect for the flag and our country. It is the narrative the current administration would like to push, but it is wrong.

The purpose of taking a knee was and is to protest the mistreatment of, and bias against, minorities in this country.

I suspect Larive doesn't have the amount of melanin in his skin that makes him a target of mistrust. He probably doesn't expect store personnel to follow him suspiciously around a store or fear for his life if you get pulled over by a police officer.

I am a patriot because I love my country and I’m willing to use my voice and my energy to help it reach its highest potential.

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White privilege is a fact of life in this country, whether or not you choose to acknowledge it.

What we are seeing on the ball field is a nonviolent, peaceful, respectful protest that is strongly supported by many veterans who have said that they fought for the rights these players are taking advantage of. It is especially galling to hear the hypocrisy of our president condemning their choice of protest when he has, himself, many times very clearly disrespected the flag by not saluting.

He was caught on a military base talking and joking through a ceremony in honor of the flag, although it is clear he was ignorant of the solemnity of the occasion. He has disrespected POWs, Gold Star families, and the values our country has long stood for.

I am a patriot because I love my country and I'm willing to use my voice and my energy to help it reach its highest potential.

That includes speaking out about injustice here at home.

I believe the NFL players are doing the opposite of disgracing the flag and our country. They are honoring it by demonstrating the freedoms we have here that are not available to all citizens of the world.

In my opinion, it is decidedly unpatriotic to condemn them for utilizing the very rights that make our country so great.

Anne Merdinger lives in Nevada City.