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Roberts 1

Kofi Roberts
212 James Hall
Hampton, VA 23668
November 5, 2015
Roger Goodell
Commissioner
National Football League
345 Park Avenue
New York City, New York 10154
Dear Roger Goodell:
It is easy to take for granted the rights our fore fathers fought for. Rights such as the Freedom of
Speech, which outlines that we, as citizens have the right to express any opinions without censorship
or restraint. Our freedom of speech has recently come under attack by a form of false nationalism.
Roger Goodell, the National Football League (NFL) has been the catalyst of this false nationalism.
Notable high ranking officials within the NFL such as yourself have made comments demonizing
quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem.
The national-anthem protest lodged by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has
returned black treatment by police to the forefront of conversations. Kaepernick hopes that by
kneeling during the anthem, an important symbol of our patriotism, people will understand the rights
we stand for our being withheld from a certain disenfranchised group of people (African Americans).
There have been instances in the past where the NFL has been on the wrong side of progress. For
instance, before concussions were considered to affect the brain negatively, the NFL tried its best to
deny any correlation. Eventually the NFL was forced to recognize the correlation and design better
equipment and rules correspondingly. However, with the Kaepernick movement the NFL has a
chance to stand on the right side of history and be remembered as progressive rather than stagnant
and traditional. As things stand Kaepernicks actions have been called unamerican by players,
colleagues, and peers. Ironically, by defying the views of the many and braving through the
alienation to fight for what is right, Kaepernick is illustrating what it truly means to be an American.
Kaepernick has been lauded as a trailblazer, a civil rights leader, and a modern-day Martin Luther
King Jr. Kaepernick has been a great role model for other players who felt the same but felt they
would be alone in speaking out. Goodell, when asked about the issue you said I dont necessarily
agree with what he is doing. You further clarified that, I support our players when they want to see
change in society, and we dont live in a perfect society. On the other hand, we believe very strongly
in patriotism in the NFL (Biderman). Therefore, you support the movement but not the method in
which it is being done. I can understand the reservations about kneeling during the anthem, a symbol
of our freedom. However, you must understand the freedoms the anthem stands for perfectly
symbolize the disenfranchisement African Americans face. Furthermore, Kaepernick has sat or taken
a knee before every 49ers preseason game this season. The man shows dedication and tenacity by
fighting for grave injustices happening every day in this country. In my opinion, Kaepernicks stand
is both constitutionally and morally right.
Sincerely,

Roberts 2
Kofi Roberts

Bibliography
Biderman, Chris. NinersWire. 7 September 2016. 19 November 2016.