To Kneel or Not to Kneel

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Thoughts on Kaepernick

Joshua Runyan’s commentary regarding Colin Kaepernick’s attempt to call attention to Black Lives Matter by kneeling during the National Anthem omitted one salient fact (“Anthem Protests a Complex Issue,” Sept. 28). Yes, he was within his constitutional right to protest. Yes, the president shamefully overreacted. Yes, his fellow National Football League players and coaches rallied to a combination of his defense and presidential rebuke. A small match became a roaring fire, but there is something not mentioned.

Kaepernick opted out of the last year of his contract to test free agency, but though quarterbacks who have been released by teams or playing on practice squads have gained employment, since his protest, he has been ignored by 32 teams, some in dire need of his talents. This raises another specter.

I know more than one of the four verses of the national anthem — which didn’t exist until 1932 — have served my country and need not justify my patriotism to anyone, but I have not recited the Pledge of Allegiance since the words “under God” were inserted, and that’s my right. We are a nation bound by constitutional law and no one should be castigated for acting accordingly.

Ralph D. Bloch | Rydal

Nothing Wrong With Honoring Country

When I was a child, our family was a sports family. Baseball, basketball, football and hockey were staples on our TV — even before cable came around and changed our lives (“Anthem Protests a Complex Issue,” Sept. 28).

When the national anthem was played, my father, a World War II veteran who liberated concentration camps, insisted we stand and honor our country in our family room. We all stood and respected it as a solemn acknowledgement of our country. Was there oppression? Yes. Was there hatred? Yes. Was there anti-Semitism and racism? Yes. As a Jewish family, we experienced it throughout our lives.

But we honored the great country in which we live. We acknowledged that the right and ability to enjoy the sporting event was because of the freedoms we had and still have in this country. Is it perfect? No. Do we have a long way to go? Sure. Does the president represent all of us in his statements? No. Do many of us cringe when he speaks? Yes.

The issue of kneeling during the anthem did not begin when he was president. It began while President Obama was our commander-in-chief. Did everyone agree with him and his policies? No. We play the anthem at our sporting events to honor our country, a country in which people have freedom to do what they want — they can follow their dreams whether they are to play football, become a teacher, executive or something else — to do better than our parents did, to succeed and to achieve.

The players have the freedom of expression, but they should take a long hard look at what they are doing when they dishonor our country by taking a knee or staying in the locker room during the anthem. Aren’t there other ways of bringing attention to their cause rather than bashing our country? We live in the greatest country in the world. Let’s act as if we do.

Amy Newman | Montgomeryville