Whether one agrees or disagrees with athletes and others “taking a knee” to silently protest injustice, people must admit that they have a constitutional right to do so.

I believe greater disrespect is shown for the nation’s flag, anthem, Constitution and military when one attacks Gold Star parents, demeans a former POW who has dedicated his life to public service and continues to do so despite suffering from brain cancer, and when one fails to acknowledge the special forces soldiers killed in Niger and elsewhere.

That person, who evaded military service with five deferments, is now destabilizing the world, eroding this country’s democracy and this nation’s standing in the world with his sabre rattling and wild tweets. That is so sad.

I prefer that a leader speak softly, respectfully, intelligently and factually — leaving the grandstanding and senseless tweets behind.

I am stunned that anyone would expect more of an athlete than they do of the leader of the free world.

Barbara Payne, Norway

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