Dear Editor:

Nearly four years ago, Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, first took a knee during the national anthem. At that time, he told you, as did all the other players who eventually joined him, that they were doing it to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

You ridiculed and chastised him. You told him that an NFL game wasn’t the right place to lodge a protest. You told him that he was desecrating the memory of men and women who fought for America’s freedoms.

He said this to you: “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” 

He told you that he had had a long, heartfelt conversation with a Green Beret about his plans to protest and that the soldier told him that taking a knee was actually respectful.

We didn’t listen or we didn’t care or we didn’t believe him.

This is what your president said about it then:

“I have followed it and I think it’s personally not a good thing. I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him.” To be clear, President Trump told Kaepernick to leave the country rather than participate in a three-minute silent, peaceful protest.

Then the following year, when Eric Reid also knelt, Trump said:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag to say, ‘Get that son of a b---- off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired.’ ”

Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Paul O’Neal, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd.

Kaep was right.

Denny Erardi

Eagle River