NFL protests about disparity

To the editor:

What has happened to freedom of speech and Americans’ right to express their opinions? According to the AP brief, “ESPN suspends Hill” on page 2A of your Oct. 10 edition, African American anchor Jemele Hill was suspended “…after referring to President Donald Trump as a ”white supremacist.” I have seen the footage of Donald Trump calling black athletes “SOBs” on national TV at least a dozen times. What kind of white person calls black people that inappropriate insult? Christian? Patriot? Excellent role model for children? Or racist? Trump said those exercising their constitutional right to protest disparity and injustice should be fired. I wonder if Trump knows that Harry and Eliza Briggs were fired from their jobs in Clarendon County, S.C. in 1949 for protesting educational disparity, and their case sparked the history changing Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas?

TV news and newspapers are reporting that some $240,000 of our tax dollars was spent in travel cost for Vice President Pence to walk out of rather than watch a ball game. Shortly afterward, Pence tweeted: “…I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our National Anthem.” Solders? Weren’t the Tuskegee Airmen, the Triple Nickel and Camp Lejeune’s Montford Point Marines degraded by segregation? Flag? Save four years of southern rebellion, didn’t our flag fly over more than a century of Negro slavery, and another century of “Jim Crow” discrimination? Anthem? For how many decades was our National Anthem played at sporting events that did not allow Negro participation, in spite of exceptional ability? Do today’s athletes kneel in disrespect, or in reverent recognition of the obvious fact that our nation’s reality does not equate our ideals, especially for minorities.

Radio and TV news commentators are questioning if the thousands of tax dollars were wasted in a staged stunt to gain more support from Donald Trump’s base. Maybe, but do you remember that the ultimate white supremacist, Adolph Hitler, “hastily” left the stadium in 1936 because American Negro athlete Jesse Owens won the gold?

Robert C. Currie Jr.