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Sunday, March 18, 2018

NFL players need to find a better way to deliver message

Dear editor,

First, I absolutely believe that the NFL players have a Constitutional right to express themselves by not honoring the nation anthem if their employer allows it. This is a right fought and died for by many over the history of our nation.

However, I wonder if making people furious is an efficient way to get your message out. Generally when a message is delivered in a way that makes people are very angry, the message is lost and people will not listen; no matter how valid the argument may be.

Respect and honor seem to have come under attack if a single reason can be found for disrespect. No person, no nation is perfect and disrespecting our flag and national anthem, to many Americans, is disrespecting all those who have died and/or fought for our nation.

If you are going to complain then you need to have some suggestions to address the problem; so here is mine.

As highly paid athletes, in cities with a racial divide, why not host and fully pay for community dinners where people of color sit down to a meal with law enforcement officers. At this meal each person at the table will get to tell their story. The young black man can tell how frightening and frustrating it is to be pulled over for driving a nice car. The mom can share her fear for her children being the victim of a drive by shooting. An elderly person in public housing can express their fear to go out after dark.  A gang member can share that his gang is where he finds brotherhood or family. The law enforcement officers can share what it is like to be called to a domestic situation, knowing that is the most dangerous situation they can enter, or respond to a child abuse case and wanting to smash the perpetrator’s face but having to remain detached. What it is like to see another addict throw their life away and fight a seemingly impossible war on drugs. To be surrounded by angry, screaming people when you are only doing your job.

I think the result of this dinner would be a greater understanding of each side’s situation and when they next met each other on the street they would not see a threat but a person they know.

America is a great nation, not a perfect nation. If it were not a great place then so many from around the world would not be trying to get here. Our flag and our anthem represents our nation, good and bad dishonoring it just makes people angry and unwilling to hear the message you are protesting for.


Barbara Bradshaw



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