To deny players the right to express their frustration in a peaceful manner is a disgrace to the Constitution, the opposite of patriotism. By compromising ethics to economy, you show moral weakness. And if you think you’re appealing to your fan base, you might be doing the opposite: a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 86% of Republicans said it was never OK to take a knee during the national anthem, but only 29% of Democrats agreed. About 69% of African-Americans said protests of the anthem were sometimes acceptable, but only 42% of whites agreed. So, unless you only want to appeal to white Republicans which, given the shifting diversity of the US population is a slow suicide, you are not really reaching the broader fan base.

We all are entitled to our opinions, but when those opinions translate into actions that affect the whole community at large, we have a responsibility to scrutinize those opinions, to hold them to a higher standard of reason. Denying your players their freedom to express their concerns sends a clear message that you don’t value your black players’ values. You’re telling them that they must abide by your white perception of social justice even though you have no experience with the kind of institutional injustice that robs their community of lives, hope and a future. You are owners in that you own the franchise, but you don’t own the players or their hearts and minds.