Throwing the flag on Trump

To the editor,

Sports has historically been a refuge from thinking about the nation’s problems, such as our increasingly ugly political climate. That changed as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand or took a knee during the National Anthem to protest police killings of unarmed black men for minor offenses like having, and general oppression of people of color.

He’s paid dearly by being blacklisted by the NFL. But this fall other football players started following his example, and of course our Dear Leader has weighed in and proclaimed they should be fired and fans should leave the stadium when players protest this way. That has prompted even more players to take a knee during the National Anthem. Teammates, coaches and even owners (some good friends with Dear Leader) supported the protesters, most of them black.

I’m with them. Even millionaire pro athletes have First Amendment rights; and as with flag burning, kneeling during the National Anthem is preferable to expressing opinion with a gun or a truck bomb, or plowing a vehicle into a crowd. Dear Leader seems to be more upset about the player protests than the white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, including the woman who died when a supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.

Dear Leader claims these players are disrespecting the flag and the country, although his unpresidential behavior has made a mockery of both. Dear Leader has shown total hostility to the First Amendment, especially to any expression that criticizes him. That would be the fact-based media that he hates.

Dear Leader also said pro football players are selfish or self-absorbed for putting very valid concerns about traumatic brain injuries over giving the fans a good gladiatorial spectacle. That tells you a lot about Dear Leader.

I hope the National Anthem protests will grow. It’s not about the National Anthem. It’s now all about Dear Leader (isn’t everything?). To me the protesters are acting in accord with the ideals the anthem and the flag stand for. Unlike Dear Leader himself.

– Carole McWilliams, Bayfield