President Donald Trump says taking a knee during the national anthem shows disrespect for the country, for the American flag and for the men and women in the military. Players are selected for their abilities on the court or field, many of them from disadvantaged backgrounds who showed discipline and grit to succeed. Their salaries should not be a talking point. High-dollar entertainment value, hard won victories and staying power should be. But they, like their fan base, are expected to conform to the tradition of nationalist and military displays. That they choose to express their First Amendment right to freedom of expression during the anthem begs the question of how it and all its trappings became instituted in the first place.
Joan Walthall, Sacramento