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Look deeper before becoming offended by NFL protests

Ravens players kneeled before the national anthem and stood during the playing of the anthem. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)

In the midst of these divisive times in our beloved country, it would certainly help if we could abstain from the habit of mind-reading, which has resulted in the misinterpretation of the actions of Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players ("Ravens, Steelers stand for national anthem; Baltimore players take knee to pray beforehand," Oct. 1). The kneeling during the national anthem has been perceived by some mind-readers as an anti-flag, anti-American statement which has offended many, especially those who have served in the armed forces, risking or giving up their lives in defense of the flag and the very Americans who are protesting. In reality, Mr. Kaepernick and other players are attempting to create awareness of certain well-documented social injustices.

There is a great website called OpenDemocracy.net which has a 2010 article by Bill Quigley, a human rights lawyer and professor at Loyola University, New Orleans College of Law, who found that African Americans are more aggressively targeted and punished than white people.I can't read the minds of Mr. Kaepernick, or those of the NFL players, but if their intent was to create awareness, then they were successful, at least for this American citizen. I think rather than disparaging the players or being judgmental because we think we know what is in their hearts, we should give them the benefit of the doubt and avoid trying to read their minds.

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The fact that many players now kneel together before the anthem and stand during the anthem is evidence that they are not disgracing the flag or country. Maybe it takes people in the limelight to speak out to make a difference (pro athletes, actors, actresses). The cries of the oppressed have, thus far, fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps my empathy stems from the fact that I have also been a victim of mind-reading. Once, as a teacher trying to discipline a student, I was accused of being a racist. Nothing could have been further from the truth, and it hurt me terribly.

We are fortunate that when it really counts, it is only God who can truly read our hearts and minds. In the words of Mother Theresa, in consolation of mind-reader victims: "In the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway."I will continue to wear my NFL jersey proudly. I also hope and pray that Colin Kaepernick gets a job! "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

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Sue Fox, Bel Air

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