My preference would be to not have the Anthem protests. As a resident of Ferguson, I can assure you that we do think about justice and injustice a LOT. The protests are in some ways arrogant, someone else deciding that I needed to think about injustice when they want me to think about it, even in the time I have set aside for my brain to unwind.
That said, the players absolutely have the right to protest. This is the whole point of the Constitution – people have the right to express their opinion. It bothers me when people question the patriotism and love of country of the players, and particularly the African American players, just for exercising this Constitutional right. The African Americans I know do love their country, even while they are sometimes disappointed in it. For African Americans, our country hasn’t always lived up to the promise of the Constitution, and we do have more to do to extend equality of opportunity to all of our citizens.
Who knows if the protests will actually change anything. Who knows if they will raise awareness, or make some turn away from the NFL. But this exercising of an American right isn’t an attack on America or the American institution of football – it’s an example of what makes our country great.