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Protesting NFL players aren’t trying to disrespect the anthem or the military`

I disagree with the idea that there is no football without the fans. I would venture to say that without players, especially black players, there is no NFL — or NBA, for that matter.

I shouldn’t be surprised that the motive for Colin Kaepernick — and the subsequent protests by others to spotlight the increasing number of law enforcement killings of unarmed black men, women and, yes, children without any accountability — has been lost on America. Whenever black people stand up for our rights, it’s seen as diminishing the rights of whites.

Now before you good people drag out the “what about black-on-black crime” argument, let me explain the difference. When a black person kills someone — regardless of the circumstances or whether the victim is black or not — that person is arrested, goes to trial, is convicted and sentenced to prison. When a police officer — who is supposedly there to “protect and serve” all communities equally and professionally — kills an unarmed black person, there seldom is an arrest or trial. And if there is, usually no one is convicted.

To suggest that Mr. Kaepernick and other players who engage in protests are disrespecting the national anthem, flag or members of the armed forces is misguided. When I served, I took pride in knowing that my service enabled Americans to freely express their constitutional rights, including to peacefully protest. The need for this protest wouldn’t exist if people got as “emotional” about the black lives we see taken almost daily on TV and YouTube — by the very institution that should protect us — as they do for a symbol.

Black lives “do” matter, too.

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