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The national anthem, the NFL and dissent

Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles raises his

Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles raises his fist during the national anthem on Aug. 9 to protest racial and social inequality. Credit: Getty Images / Mitchell Leff

Football great Jim Brown’s statement that he would not kneel during the national anthem, but that he respects the rights of players to do so, was so on the mark [“Brown wouldn’t take knee,” Sports, Aug. 9].

I am 82 and white. I feel that these big-shot athletes spend perhaps five minutes kneeling during our anthem, and that is about all they do to help their cause. Brown has been a champion for equal rights his entire life. He played at a time when black athletes had a much tougher time with rights than athletes do today. The solutions to equality lie in our nation’s capital; the players should protest there.

The NFL had better clue these misguided athletes to stand for our anthem and salute the flag that represents the words “All men are created equal . . . with certain unalienable rights.”

Richard E. Kurdt,East Islip

Here is why it is OK for athletes to kneel during our anthem. It is their right. Is it respectful? No. Just because some people don’t agree (myself included), kneeling is their right. That is what our amazing veterans fought for — our right to kneel and not to be forced to stand. We are slipping back, not moving ahead.

Leslee Lewis,Merrick

Enough with the nonsense about President Donald Trump saying NFL players are disloyal Americans. This has nothing to do with the players and everything to do with Trump’s bitter experience with the NFL.

In the 1980s, he wanted to buy an NFL franchise but failed. He had bought the New Jersey Generals of the rival USFL. The USFL had planned to play in the spring after the NFL season, but Trump persuaded the other USFL owners to play in the fall, too. The league folded and litigation ensued. The USFL was awarded minuscule damages. Trump has had it in for the NFL ever since. This is all about Trump’s ego. When he had a chance himself to be a loyal American and serve in the armed forces, he couldn’t run away fast enough.

Henry Beyer,Woodmere

I don’t always agree with what President Donald Trump says, but I agree that players who don’t stand for the anthem should be suspended or fired. Where else could they make millions of dollars to play football? Find another way to protest on issues. Not to stand for the anthem is disgraceful.

Madeline Bondietti,Farmingdale

Players who do not respect our national anthem and the flag should be fired. I am furious. My grandfather and his brother were in the Army in World War I. My grandfather survived being gassed in France. I had uncles who served in World War II. My husband was in the Air Force during the Korean War. My cousin served in Vietnam.

There are other ways to protest. I wish the players could be drafted to serve in the military and show their patriotism.

Lois Brinkley,Manorville

As a Navy veteran, I’m not completely comfortable with protests during the anthem. However, to all the players who want to kneel, fine, but kneel up straight and respectfully, with your head high. Don’t take a submissive posture. If you do nothing else, teach your children and young fans to be respectful to others, even if you disagree. And when the season’s over, demonstrate your commitment to the issue you’re protesting about. Don’t wait until next year.

Bruce Conger,Seaford

A minute of reflection about our nation could become the practice before the anthem. Players could kneel as they seek fairer treatment for minorities. Then they should stand for the anthem to display solidarity in national brotherhood.

Bernard Sosnick,Melville

The players say the kneelers mean no disrespect to the anthem, flag or country. They want to make their point of view known. Why can’t they protest before or after the anthem, or on their own time? They have managed to further divide the country and ruin the sport for many people.

Kathleen Culkin,Medford