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Opinion

Readers React: What is it with Trump attacking African American athletes?

President Trump to NFL players: ‘Be happy, be cool’ and stand for the national anthem
Miami Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneel during the national anthem before a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Aug. 9.
(Charles Trainor Jr. / TNS)

To the editor: President Trump’s tweets about firing or suspending National Football League players who kneel during the national anthem are just more red meat for his rural base.

With the midterm election approaching, everything Trump does now is about holding on to power. His recent attacks on “spoiled” NFL players and racially charged tweets regarding the intelligence of LeBron James and journalist Don Lemon fan the flames of racism.

Also, NFL players can hardly be labeled spoiled when the average career is less than four years and is usually shortened by injuries.

When these African American athletes exercise their 1st Amendment right to protest for causes that they have probably had personal experience with, they are causing disruptions to two powerful interests: pro football and the military industrial complex. They are alienating patriotic NFL fans who believe that the players are disrespecting the military, flag and country, potentially costing the league money if people desert the sport.

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The athletes are also throwing a small wrench into the military industrial complex, which uses the NFL to encourage young people to join the armed forces. By taking a knee, the players are not taking part in the patriotic rituals that many of us middle-class Americans unquestioningly support.

Jeff Lough, Whittier

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To the editor: This article was slanted and biased. The report was beyond any attempt at journalism.

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The journalist’s mentioning of the Russia investigation is nowhere to the point, and the assertion that this is “a wedge issue that animates a number of white voters” is false and incendiary. Polls, for what they are worth, indicate most Americans agree with the president’s view on the kneeling NFL players.

This is not about racism, and it is not about African American players. It is about respecting our flag and country. It is also about being employed in the entertainment business. These employees are alienating their customers, and I would be fired from my job if I chose to do that on company time.

H. Ashton Velasco, La Verne

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To the editor: The president’s expressions of anger at the NFL are only partially motivated by race. There is a deeper personal issue here for Trump.

Between 1982 and 2014, Trump was turned down for membership in the NFL “billionaire boys club” of owners multiple times. So Trump ventured into the United States Football League and ultimately sped its demise in 1986. The final affront was his failed bid to buy the Buffalo Bills in 2014.

If Trump cannot own or control something, he will seek to destroy it or at least denigrate it.

Michael Bol, Pasadena

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To the editor: People do not attend NFL games so they can pay their respects to the flag and the military.

I could understand playing the national anthem back in the day, when it was meant to whip up patriotism during World War II, but these days we’re not engaged in such a war. If it’s being played now to somehow equate sports with the military, then that’s an awfully sad commentary on our society.

The best thing all sports leagues could do these days is just to scrap the playing of the national anthem altogether. I’ve heard way too many poor renditions, and honoring individual war veterans during games does not mean that quarterbacks, pitchers or other players should be honored on their level.

Cal Teraoka, Huntington Beach

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