Letters to the Editor

Why does national television coverage of NFL football games not show the players kneeling on the sidelines in protest of police violence?

Consider the following statistics from the Officer Down Memorial web page. From this link simply enter the year you wish to research in the box in the upper left area of the web page and click Go - https://www.odmp.org/search/year?year=2017.

Along the left side of each year you chose will be a summary of the total number of law enforcement officers who died as a result of various events. Far and away each year you will find more have died as a result of gunfire violence against them than any other cause. In fact, over the last decade you will find that officers killed in the line of duty by gunfire violence peaked in 2011 at 68 officers that year. The totals then slacked off to the range of the mid-40s, which is still almost 4 officers per month, by just gunfire violence alone.

But the number of officers assassinated in the line of duty again rose to a near record high of 63 officers killed by gunfire violence in 2016. It should also make one sick to know the NFL would not let Dallas Cowboys players wear a decal on their helmets in support of the Dallas Police, when five officers were killed in one day during a Black Lives Matter protest. That was enough it drove San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick to his knees. It may have cost him his job, but he knows these statistics are major factors behind how officers adapt to confront the deadly challenges they face every day.

The NFL players also know that their adversaries are easily recognizable by the color of the jersey of their opponent, and even have large numbers so they know who might have the evidence (oops, I meant the football). They understand that If only law enforcement officers could have the advantage of colorful numbered jerseys, then they could also pick out the right people on sight.

The NFL players should also try bringing attention to the disproportionate number of unwed mothers in the minority communities, the rejection by their youth of the opportunity for a free public education, and the lack of appropriate role models in the home. So, what is the NFL players recommendations to get the justice they seek? I’m not hearing it from their knees.

I plan to continue to boycott watching any NFL game for the rest of the season, and even extending to the Super Bowl. If I watch any games next season depends on whether society has recognized the issues behind and beyond the protests, and whether the NFL players are rising up to the challenges of being the agents of change they seek. It seems everyone except the NFL owners and players realize it is impossible to lead from a kneeling position.

Are the companies advertising on the NFL games understanding any of this?

Lester Shields,