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Newsday letters to the editor for Wednesday, May 30, 2018

New York Jets chairman Christopher Johnson stands with

New York Jets chairman Christopher Johnson stands with players during the national anthem before a game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Getty Images / Al Bello

Congratulations to Rep. Peter King for his courage to call out these spoiled, pampered football players, unlike Jets chairman Christopher Johnson [“King rips ‘disgraceful’ Jets,” News, May 27]. Instead of condoning player protests, Johnson should tell players to stand for the anthem or go play for someone else. Football helmets should display team logos on the left side and the American flag on the “right” side.

Paul Dellacona,

Garden City

As a loyal constituent of Peter King, I am appalled at his comments comparing kneeling during the national anthem with a Nazi salute. Why lessen the importance of the millions of Jews and others killed by the Nazis?

Jets management is saying it supports its players in their beliefs and right to protest. I don’t agree with the disrespectful act of kneeling during the anthem, but I understand that the players want change.

Cheryl Wadsworth,


Many NFL players felt it was their right to protest during the anthem, a right guaranteed by the First Amendment. The NFL owners decided it was their right to control players’ speech. Jets chairman Christopher Johnson decided it was his right to let his players protest without fear of fines. And it was Peter King’s right to call Johnson’s decision “disgraceful.”

This is what is wrong with America: no one wants to listen. If people would listen more before speaking — including our president, members of Congress, and everyone with a social media account — we’d have a civil discourse.

Michael P. Fried,


If Jets boss Chris Johnson will not enforce the NFL’s policy on players not standing during our national anthem, no problem. When I see a player kneel or sit during the anthem, I will switch to another channel. I hope other viewers will do the same. The NFL policy should be “no stand, no play or pay.”

Ed Quinlan,

New Hyde Park

So, the editorial board opines that the football players who took a knee “were never disrespectful of the anthem or the flag” [“NFL rule warrants penalty flags,” Editorial, May 24].

Excuse me, but your faulty reasoning deserves multiple penalty flags. There are many ways off the field players can use to object to practices and policies they do not support. Their exorbitant salaries give them with the means to do so. They are paid to play, not to dissent.

John J. O’Sullivan,Kings Park

Hooray for the NFL, whose owners banned player protests during the anthem. What serious fan wants to be reminded of messy issues like racial injustice while getting ready to watch a favorite team knock heads with opponents? Better to leave players with a conscience in the locker room during the anthem, where their funny ideas about equality won’t get in the way of everybody’s good time.

When it comes to issues like racism and police brutality, some jocks just don’t know their place. Good thing we have the NFL owners to set them straight and remind them of what really matters in life.

Richard Conway,Massapequa

There is nothing more disrespectful than putting the very best this country has to offer in harm’s way without a clear path for success. Fifteen years later, I still do not see any reasonable outcome to the war in Iraq. Making matters worse, Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia cleric whose followers mounted deadly attacks on American troops, came out on top in May 12’s Iraqi elections.

President Donald Trump should know that is a higher level of disrespect for our country and fellow citizens than some athletes not standing for the national anthem. This continues to be a purposeful distraction from what really matters.

Lon T. Dolber,East Moriches

As a longtime Jets season-ticket holder and registered Republican, I feel compelled to respond to the comments made by Rep. Peter King calling the Jets “disgraceful” and the NFL players protest not “reasonable.” The Jets’ stance on the NFL protest policy is based on the freedom of speech in the constitution. In addition, it is a good thing Congress does not get to decide which protests are reasonable or not. That right is governed by and controlled by our constitution. Our members of Congress are not kings; they should defend and uphold the laws of this great country.

David A. Scro,


I find this phony controversy about the anthem to be ridiculous. Freedom of speech is far more important than a national anthem or a flag. Every country has both of those, but the First Amendment differentiates us, and its freedoms are what we should treasure.

Standing for the anthem is just a ritual that we have decided everyone should partake in. How awful it must be if someone decides, for whatever reason, not to participate. It is freedom to take part, or not to take part — the key word being freedom.

Robert Albin,


It’s difficult for me to understand when NFL players kneel in dishonor to this flag during the playing of the national anthem.

In response to the NFL’s new rule to fine players on the field who kneel during the anthem, wealthy Jets chairman Christopher Johnson said he would cover the fine for his players who choose to demonstrate. He might as well kneel along with them. This sets a terrible example.

But this gesture may well lead to happier marriages. Now we can spend Sundays and Monday and Thursday evenings with our families rather than watching the games we used to love.

Advertisers take note.

Marty OrensteinNew Hyde Park

It’s a sad irony that a draft-evader like Donald Trump, feigning patriotism, has pushed the NFL to prohibit the First Amendment right of players to kneel silently before games. Trump rants that the kneeling is unpatriotic, but he doesn’t mention the death-without-accountability by law enforcement agents that caused some to kneel.

Those of us who served this country saw people like Trump for what they were — hardly patriots. The fact that our anthem is played at all before sporting events is fodder for another discussion. Trump’s actions as president have the nation sliding toward autocracy. He has used his office to attract sycophants of questionable ability, including his family members, and he’s cashed in on his office like a Third World potentate despite constitutional prohibitions.

Trump campaigned pretending to be a change-agent. He skillfully plays on the tribal fears and worst angels of his base and repeatedly lies. Special counsel Robert Mueller may well expose Trump’s many scandals in a final report, but in the meantime our democracy continues to be torn asunder.

Robert Mays,Freeport

I am a decorated Korean War veteran and respect my country.

I can’t abide any professional player disrespecting the flag we proudly stand for and our national anthem. That is disgraceful and disgusting. Other countries are laughing at us.

If players protest, spectators should stay home and watch on TV. You will see how the tables will turn. Take your personal grievance somewhere else.

Mark Cassuto,Dix Hills

Rather than protesting over bigotry and bias at games, players would be better off going to Washington as a group and demonstrating there. The flag and anthem symbolize the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Merely sitting or kneeling during the anthem to me is a very short protest and shows nothing but disrespect for our troops overseas. The flag and anthem are not to blame for injustices; the federal government is. Yet the NFL and its players are seen in Washington only after one team wins the Super Bowl. Get your priorities in order.

Richard E. Kurdt,E. Islip

We have a president who is attacking pillars of our democracy — the judiciary, the Department of Justice and the free press — but we get exercised over football players silently, nonviolently protesting police treatment of fellow citizens. When did the police become synonymous with the military and the flag? Perhaps we should look at the predominant role the military takes in our society. We have a draft-dodger president who extols the military and carries a bully’s stick. As with all bullies, he is loudest when standing behind rather than out front. Will the people wake up only when he does shoot someone on Fifth Avenue?

John Libretti,North Bellmore

I understand it’s a strategy of President Donald Trump to throw all the garbage he can at the wall and hope that some people will find something there to distract them. Advocating for and hailing the dismantling of the First Amendment should not be tolerated as one of those things.

George Washington said, “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

Benjamin Franklin said, “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”

Trump said football players “have to stand proudly” for the anthem, and that athletes who can’t do that “shouldn’t be playing . . . Maybe they shouldn’t be in the country.”


Laura L. Lustbader,Huntington Station

Newsday’s editorial misses the point on the anthem issue. It’s not a First Amendment issue, it’s an America First issue.

Football is played by very well-paid athletes for entertainment. Americans that work hard and want to enjoy a Sunday game. They generally understand that this country is quite exceptional. Basically, we love this country for the opportunity it has given us to be whatever we want to be. As responsible citizens, we enjoy its freedom.

So, to have privileged athletes come into our homes on TV with their perception of what’s wrong with America is simply shocking.

Sporting events are not the proper venue for politics. If these athletes are so upset with America, they should use their big paychecks to run for elected office and change the system.

As a military veteran, I believe I can say the behavior of these athletes and their disrespect of the national anthem are un-American and disgraceful. I will not watch the NFL if these misguided athletes are allowed to politicize the sport. I’m not alone.

Kenneth P. LebeckPlainview

Fans pay for tickets, merchandise, TV, food and beverages when we go to stadiums, bars and elsewhere to cheer on our teams and forget the issues that plague society. Players who kneel during the anthem only cause division among fans and players.

Solution: The owners and players should donate money to bring cops and city kids together in Big Brothers Big Sisters or Police Athletic League-type programs to find common ground to understand and work together. Have cops and kids attend games and interact.

Use sports to bring people together and build from it. Protesting and pointing fingers are easy, but what does it actually do to unite?

Larry Lombardo,


Kneeling during the anthem insults all of us veterans, especially those who died or were injured protecting the rights we all hold most dear. Protesting is the right of those who feel abused by police, but the majority of our police deserve respect and should be honored. Football games are the wrong venue for kneeling, and such acts should be punished.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.,Glen Oaks Village

Rep. Peter King is way off base regarding Christopher Johnson paying fines for his players. Comparing taking a knee with giving the Nazi salute is just so wrong. One is a protest to wrongs done to a group of people by the police, not to the flag or military. The Nazi salute is one of pure evil and hate.

Bob Horsham,


For Rep. Peter King to say protests by NFL players are “premised on lies vs. police” is a disgrace. His lack of understanding is eye-opening. No one who has kept current on repeated incidents of unarmed African-Americans being gunned down by police could possibly doubt that there is a significant problem. Equating the protesters with Nazis is beyond the pale.

William Yovino,

Rockville Centre