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Taking pride in Ravens' protests

Mike Wellington, Joe Toma and Julian Ordaz stand at attention as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance during an NFL jersey burning ceremony to protest the National Anthem controversy Nov. 12 in Aurora, Ill.
Mike Wellington, Joe Toma and Julian Ordaz stand at attention as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance during an NFL jersey burning ceremony to protest the National Anthem controversy Nov. 12 in Aurora, Ill. (Jon Langham / The Beacon-News)

I am a Baltimore Ravens season tickets holder who stands anytime — and anywhere — the national anthem is performed. But as a black man who volunteered for military service and earned a bronze star during the Vietnam War, I support the right of NFL players (or anyone else) to kneel in peaceful protest during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner (“Ravens acknowledge that London protest has resulted in no-shows at home games,” Dec. 22).

Just as many black NFL players kneel to protest the mistreatment of blacks by the few bad cops who give this nation's large number of good cops a bad name, I stand in honor of the sacrifices that my father and grandfather made when they, too, voluntarily joined America's armed forces. They did so — as did I — to back the claim of millions of African Americans to the full rights of American citizenship. That's what those who kneel during the playing of the national anthem want: the equal protection of the law, especially at the hands of cops.

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Far from anti-American, the NFL players' peaceful protests are enshrined in the Constitution's 1st Amendment and should be protected by all true American patriots.

DeWayne Wickham, Owings Mills

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