NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should be commended for revising his stance toward protests at football games (“Roger Goodell wishes the NFL ‘had listened earlier’ to Colin Kaepernick,” Aug. 24). It is regrettable that, after all this time, President Trump and others still misunderstand (or choose not to understand) the intent of NFL players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

Their purpose, of course, is to remind us, in a way that will be noticed by a large audience, that America does not always live up to its ideals. Their kneeling is an expression not of disrespect but of bitter disappointment. Specifically, as everyone, including the president, should know by now, the protest is over the fact that African American men are singled out for harassment and brutality by many of the police. The cause is just. We have all seen the videos.

The players might have chosen a loud or violent form of protest, but they have not. Instead, though they may be seething inside, they choose to kneel silently during the anthem. Kneeling is hardly a posture of disrespect. On the contrary, it is a solemn, dignified posture of supplication or submission to authority.

Those who pray, of course, often do so on their knees. It is hard to think of a gentler, more restrained, more respectful form of protest.

Michael P. Bacon

Related Headlines

filed under: