Letter: Stand Up for Anthem, Do Good Elsewhere
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Letter: Stand Up for Anthem, Do Good Elsewhere

NFL players and owners can make positive differences without the disrespect and disruption of their protests.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank

No one has questioned the exercise of First Amendment rights of NFL players or team owners (“Our View: Standing Up,” Sept. 29). But anthem protests are the wrong place to address their issues. A bit of perspective might be useful.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, undoubtedly with a straight face, referred to “the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.” With that in mind, consider USA Today’s list of NFL player arrests, then consider athletes Arthur Ashe and Tiger Woods.

Tennis legend and extraordinary gentleman Ashe became involved with tennis programs oriented not toward producing professional athletes, but instead toward using tennis as a vehicle for teaching life skills to young people.

And you can do good without being perfect yourself. Golfer Woods (who married before he became a father) envisions his Tiger Woods Foundation as a hub for STEM education for underprivileged kids.

Which NFL team players, some of whom command multimillion-dollar salaries, are using some of their wealth to help address the needs of children of one-parent families in failing schools? This is what stand-up guys would do if they really were “an overwhelming force for good.” Education is fundamental to equality of opportunity.

With regard to “using the Days of Awe to practice humility,” perhaps Arthur Ashe has the ultimate message for elite athletes: “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

— Julia Lutch, Davis, Calif.

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