To the National Football League,
I am an American first, and I am proud to be a citizen of the United States. For decades, the NFL has respected me and my beliefs by honoring the flag during the playing of the National Anthem before every game. This has never been a matter of politics; all Americans of every political belief have always respected the values America represents.
That is why I am both heartbroken and angry that our anthem and flag are being turned into a target of divisive and opportunistic politics by your players, owners, and the league itself. As a people, we are faced with some of the most serious challenges in our history, and we need to come together in unity on these issues. By broadcasting a message of division to the world, you are harming our national security, and emboldening our enemies.
The controversy you have created is not about free speech, but about respect. I give the NFL my attention every week, and I expect to be treated with respect by those who my attention supports, not insulted with their own politics. There are 165 hours a week when your players are not on the field… they may exercise free speech to their heart’s content during that time. But if they expect to come into my living room to insult me, I will continue to change the channel and give my attention elsewhere.
I am not looking to fight the NFL or the players with their deeply held personal views. I am asking instead for unity, that we come together as one nation and show the world that we are more united than divided. That flag and country means something larger to us than our politics, and that we can disagree on issues without disrespecting America.
But only the NFL can restore that ideal through your leadership, and I am asking you to do so today.