By Deborah Blanks
I write to thank you for taking a stand, some on bended knee, all striving for unity and respecting one’s right to free speech. Unfortunately, many people want you to abandon your protest and run obediently onto the field to play football for their enjoyment. They want to strip you down to the only part of you that matters to them – the talented and entertaining athlete.
We, the public, are accustomed to seeing you make incredible plays on the field. We have categorized you as NFL players without acknowledging that you are so much more than your profession. We may have underestimated you. Perhaps we thought your only focus was on playing the game; achieving a high level of fortune and fame. You proved us wrong.
I want you to know that I get it; probably millions of others do as well. We understand your protest reflects your great respect for the military, love of country and the flag. We know you do not seek to disparage all police, but you do condemn all acts of police brutality regardless who the victim might be.
I applaud you for advocating for those who feel voiceless, invisible and afraid. In your way you are speaking out for those who fought valiantly on distant shores only to return home to be forced to sit at the back of the bus; those shot by police who felt threatened though the police held the gun and the power; those treated as if they are second-class citizens.
History teaches us that positive change doesn’t come easy; brave citizens, like you, must be willing to stay strong facing the storm of opposition. Your protest is powerful. You are working for the nation’s greater good because injustice and inequality diminish us all. Hopefully, more citizens will understand your position and advocate for a just and equitable America too.