Protest, but ac­cept the con­se­quences

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS -

Let us put the NFL protest is­sue into per­spec­tive. As Amer­i­can ci­ti­zens, we have the free­dom of speech, the right to as­sem­ble, and the right to peace­fully protest. I ap­plaud the NFL play­ers and any­one else for de­nounc­ing racism and in­equal­ity. They chose a con­ve­nient and highly vis­i­ble (and ob­vi­ously ef­fec­tive) venue — that of a pro­fes­sional football game. However, of all op­por­tu­ni­ties af­forded by sev­eral hours of time, they chose to demon­strate dur­ing the na­tional an­them.

The na­tional an­them rep­re­sents our al­le­giance and ded­i­ca­tion to our country. It rep­re­sents mil­i­tary per­son­nel who fought and died to pre­serve the very free­dom that we (and they) con­tinue to en­joy. It is all about what our great country stands for. It stands for pride. It stands for honor, courage and com­mit­ment. The per­cep­tion is that the protest­ing play­ers stand against our country, dis­re­spect our flag and all of our Amer­i­can pa­tri­ots, whose love for our country runs deeper than many will ever know. This strikes a se­ri­ous nerve in the hearts and souls of many Amer­i­cans.

So yes, they can protest, but they should be pre­pared to face the fall­out of their poor judg­ment and in­dis­cre­tion re­gard­ing the ex­act time to at­tempt to make their point. Like it or not, Pres­i­dent Donald Trump rep­re­sents our country. And while many may feel that he lacks the diplo­macy of pres­i­dents who have gone be­fore him, his job is still to sup­port, de­fend and pro­tect it, just as the play­ers, coaches and own­ers de­fend, sup­port and pro­tect their team fran­chises.

Pres­i­dent Trump’s di­rect and ag­gres­sive com­ments, and the sub­se­quent “knee-jerk” re­ac­tion of in­creased par­tic­i­pa­tion by other NFL mem­bers, sug­gest that they were re­duced to the level of child’s play — like two chil­dren fight­ing over one lol­lipop. The bot­tom line: It was a good idea, but a very poor ex­e­cu­tion. The right place per­haps, but clearly the wrong time.

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