Method was offensive
The national anthem is not just a few music notes on a piece of paper, and the flag is not just a piece of multicolored cloth. They are significant symbols of our national identity. They are meant to bring us together and remind us to be proud that we a re A m e r i - cans. They are recognized by standing and holding our hand over our heart. It is an honor that we give to these symbols that serve to remind us of the sacrifices made by many of our friends, neighbors, relatives and ancestors on behalf of our nation.
In my opinion, it does not matter why the University of Arkansas basketball players chose to kneel during the national anthem, it just matters that their actions demonstrated a lack of patriotism and feeling for their fellow Americans. This criticism is not a question of freedom of speech, but a matter of pride in being an American and demonstrating respect for our anthem and our flag. I realize that they have a right to their opinions and to express these opinions; however, they do not have a right to escape responsibility or criticism for their action.
Speaking of responsibility, I want to add that as a veteran and graduate of the University of Arkansas, I am shocked, ashamed and offended by the acceptance and praise from Jeff Long and the university athletic staff for the method used by these players to express their opinions.
Freedom to dishonor
Thank you, editors, for giving us the picture of the six petulant children that dishonored our country by not standing when the symbol of this great country was rendered honors.
The names of the women who disrespected the symbol of our nation: Jordan Danberry, Tatiyana Smith, Kiara Williams, Jailyn Mason, Yasmeen Ratliff and Briunna Freeman.
While you girls were free to make your expression, I hope you realize that freedom was purchased for you with blood. While you spend your days playing with your phone and socializing after classes, I hope you know of the thousands of Americans that, at your age, suffered terrible atrocities, lost limbs and eyesight, memory and motor function, their future and very lives … all because you can have the freedom to dishonor them.
TROY D. ELAM
North Little Rock
An unpatriotic display
I know that the freedoms we enjoy today have been paid for in blood throughout U.S. history. Based on that, the women from the U of A basketball team had a right not to stand for the national anthem.
If they are on scholarships, would the same freedom they exercised be exercised by the college to revoke their free rides? They are paid to play (college isn’t free) but not with my dime (taxes).
They are getting the chance for a solid education. I would rather see a team fail than play people that feel their country isn’t giving them a fair shake.
I wonder how many other women would jump at this “free” education and be willing to stand tall when needed.
Again, I know it is their right. Just go do it somewhere else. Hopefully most Arkansans feel the same way. If not, at least these “ladies” should be benched for this unpatriotic display.
Wasn’t proper place
I am as much in favor of the right of free speech as anyone. However, when I read six U of A women basketball players chose to kneel during the playing of our national anthem at their game in the exercise of their right to protest, I was reminded of something my parents taught me: “Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean it’s always the right thing to do.”
It was not the right thing to do at a sports facility largely paid for and supported by contributions and ticket purchases by fans who go to sports arenas to see games, not to see the athletes engage in their social protests.
I was disappointed to read that Coach Dykes and Athletic Director Long had received advance notice of the players’ plans and encouraged their players to use the game as a forum.
I do not dispute that a university is a proper forum, at the right time and the right place, for the discussion and debate of social issues and the exercise of public protests relating to those issues. However, I do not believe that a university-sponsored sports event is the right place.
Furthermore, although kneeling during the playing of the national anthem may have been intended by the players as an exercise of their right to protest, it is perceived by me, and many others, as unpatriotic and disloyal to the nation whose Constitution confers that right and whose justice system protects it.
Kudos to the U of A men who stood to honor Coach Anderson and their country during the anthem at their game.
John Brummett misses the point. I am not suggesting that protesting our national anthem and flag, even burning it, is not a permissible expression of free speech. I am saying that protesters should exercise discretion and judgment in deciding when and where to exercise their rights. Teaching the exercise of discretion and good judgment is part of the education process.
Shouldn’t be allowed
I support the Lady Razorback players’ right to express themselves 100 percent. It is the venue that draws my ire.
The students have the right to express their opinions and protest; however, when they don the uniform of the University of Arkansas, they no longer are “individuals.” They are representatives of the university and the state of Arkansas.
I do not fault the students for pushing the envelope of their First Amendment rights, I fault the coaches and university management for allowing this to proceed. By allowing it to proceed they are tacitly saying the university and state of Arkansas agree with their position. This can prove to put the university in a difficult position as it has boxed itself in a corner when the situation comes up where a student expresses an opinion to which they disagree. It will be rather difficult for them to do much if, say, a student-athlete decides to add a Confederate flag to his or her uniform.
SCOTT D. STUBENRAUCH
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