Letter: We must listen
I am writing in response to the Sept. 26 letter to the editor, “NFL players kneeling.” I appreciate the author’s family’s military service to “preserve the rights of these football players to do what they believe is right for them.” What I take issue with is the conclusion that the players’ statement serves to “further divide the nation.”
I think that what is dividing the nation is not listening to each other. The author says himself that he would “understand it if he knew what they wanted to accomplish,” and then listed several guesses as to what that might be. Kaepernick and other NFL players are articulate about their cause of protesting unauthorized police brutality against black Americans. We don’t need to second guess their motives. Read http://tinyurl.com/kaepernicklink.
As a nation, we need to stop being reactionary and we need to stop name-calling and assuming the worse in each other. We need to start listening better. We acknowledge that the freedom we have to protest is a gift we have because our military has fought for it and that some people in the military (and their families) feel disrespected when a knee is taken. But we also need to listen when those kneeling say they mean no disrespect but think a statement has to be made to make America greater.
The NFL players are in a long line of athletes who use their position for social protest, including Jackie Robinson, who didn’t stand for the anthem, and Muhammad Ali, who was arrested for not stepping forward when his name was called for the Vietnam War. We all use whatever pulpit we have to make whatever difference we can make. The key to not further dividing the nation isn’t to agree with each other. The key is to be willing to listen to people we don’t agree with.