LETTER: Players have the right to express themselves

I have been an avid Seahawks fan for more than 20 years and an NFL fan over 50 years. Today, I no longer cheer for football.

After having witnessed the racist disdain with which the NFL team owners (with the support of a majority of fans) have denied the players their civil rights, I can no longer, in good conscience, watch professional football. Pro teams are not Southern plantations, and even though they pay players extremely well, team owners still buy and sell them like cattle.

All the players are men with minds, hearts and souls and a conscience. They have the right to express their discontent with the brutality and hypocrisy with which they and their brothers and sisters have been, and continue to be, treated in “the land of the free.” The NFL has now taken another step backward in civil rights by unanimously agreeing to, once again, put their financial interests above the rights of their players. It’s a crying shame that stains all of professional sports, and it is beginning to remind me of what happened to those who refused to salute the flag or their leader in a certain European country just 80 years ago.

So, I will publicly continue to take a knee with the players and speak up on their behalf with the goal that NFL team owners will eventually realize that they have the choice to use their powerful media platform to combat racism and to educate as well as entertain their fans on the real meaning of “all men are created equal.”

— Art Chippendale

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