While I agree with 99 percent of Gary Phillips’ Sept. 26 letter, I don’t agree with his following statement: “I do not believe anyone should protest anything while they are at work – and once an NFL player is in uniform on the field, he is at work and should leave the protests off the field.”

This is entertainment sports, not an accounting firm, a law office or a restaurant. The players have a unique opportunity to shine the spotlight on the horrific racism that has flamed more brightly because of our current president. From blacks speaking out when the media spotlight is on the latest racial incident, I’ve learned how scary and prevalent racism still is. Media spotlights help bring attention to issues.

Unless the players’ contracts forbid kneeling or not being on the field for the national anthem, they can kneel to protest racism. How else to get our attention? How else to make change? Can’t we simply watch their non-threatening action? We delight in watching them play; watching their non-threatening protest is the least we can do.

We must start working to mend the tears in our national fabric that racism continues to create. They are using their fame and our national craze with football to their advantage. Smart move.

I have often wondered why the national anthem is played at sporting events. When did this tradition start? Did the Romans sing a national song at the start of each slave gladiator game at the Colosseum? Sporting events use our country’s anthem to start the games; why is it offensive for athletes to take advantage of that opportunity?

Anne Gregory