Letter: Chris Freud is wrong about impact of NFL players taking a knee
October 20, 2017
After reading James Millar's comments in the Valley Voices section of today's Daily ("'More perfect union' comes from honoring flag, anthem," Wednesday, Oct. 18), I was compelled to go to the archives to read the article by Chris Freud that he references ("Why does it matter that a player stand or kneel?" Wednesday, Oct. 11).
Chris is absolutely wrong when he says that people have not stopped watching the NFL because of the protests. You can count me as Exhibit 1, as I have not watched a minute of professional football since Colin Kaepernick started kneeling last year. To be fair, I would have described myself previously as a casual fan, but I have stopped watching nonetheless.
A more powerful example may be my good friend, who used to get up first thing Sunday morning, flip open his laptop to make last-minute adjustments to his fantasy leagues while the pregame shows murmured in the background and watch every broadcast he could until the talking heads finally stopped analyzing the day's action at midnight.
He has not watched a minute or participated in fantasy leagues since players started kneeling, either. Anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but Chris Freud is wrong when he dismisses the fact that at least some percentage of the people tuning out is due to the protests.
I am a veteran, and although I would prefer it wasn't done during the anthem because it and the flag mean so much to me, I believe the players have a right to express their opinions as they see fit as long as the manner in which they do it is not harmful to others. I have a right to express myself by not watching.
My issue is not that I am oblivious to the existence of racism but that I am not willing to paint all police officers with that brush. Most people struggle to make good decisions in the best of circumstances and, when you add intense anxiety, even more so.
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Unfortunately, the life-and-death decisions officers are faced with every day can have devastating results for a suspect or themselves if they are wrong. I am not willing to question their intent without standing alongside them in the face of a perceived threat.
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