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To the Editor:

What’s really at issue with the NFL protests? These players aren’t just protesting, they’re doing it while on company property and wearing a company uniform. That goes beyond the rights of free speech. I’ve owned my own businesses for almost 40 years. I never allowed employees to publicly engage in political or religious conduct on my premises — even if I agreed with them. I did that largely because I was running a business, not a political activist organization or church. My customers and clients came to my business for a particular service we rendered, not a political speech or a sermon. My customers have always spanned every social, religious and political spectrum there is and there’s no need to offend them by something that isn’t related to the business itself.

The playing of the national anthem at many sporting events is a long tradition, nothing more. The standing during its playing is a tradition, nothing more. If a player doesn’t want to participate in that tradition, which isn’t in and of itself related to the game, they should not be forced to and should be allowed to remain in the locker room until it’s over. Attempts at team unity should be directed at winning the game, not political unity. But when management allows political activity (one way or the other), such as disrespecting that tradition, on their property and in their uniforms, they are playing with economic fire with those that make their business possible — the fans.

Alfred E. “Sonny” Sanders



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