WHAT YOU SAID: Should NFL players be punished over the anthem?

Last weekend's slate of NFL games was highly anticipated, not so much for who might win or lose, but for what might happen before the games even started. 

Never has the singing of the national anthem been so closely watched. President Donald Trump kicked off the controversy a couple of days earlier when he called out players for not standing for the anthem. He even cursed them and suggested they be fired. 

And many teams and players responded on Sunday.

Opinions raged, and still are, about the players, the NFL, the president, patriotism and free speech. 

We wanted to know your thoughts, so we asked: Should NFL players be reprimanded for refusing to stand during the National Anthem?

Many of you felt like Kim Matthews, who said go ahead and protest, but not during the national anthem and not in those few hours on Sundays reserved for football:

Dianne Morris agreed -- keep the protesting out of the games:

 

But many agreed with James Byerly, who said the players are making important statements, and Americans should pay attention:

Punished for what? They are not disrespecting the flag or country! They are peaceful and orderly! Listen to them: they are trying to draw attention to the miserable relationship between law enforcement and people/communities of color, a festering problem that’s been with us, without pause, since before we became a nation!

And Alexandra Waters spoke up for the right to peaceful protest, paraphrasing the often-cited maxim, "I may not agree with what you say, but I respect your right to say it."

Darris Bohman spoke for a lot of other people when she said she was tuning out professional football because of the league's support for protesting players.

And Robert Jensen said he was ready to give up his lifelong love of football because of the players' and the league's actions:

I'm 39 yrs old and have loved football as long as I can remember, but after this weekend I'm done with football. These players are at their jobs on Sunday afternoon and are supposed to be entertaining the hardworking people that spend a lot of money to see them. If I or any other person wanted to protest at our job we would be reprimanded or fired,  for doing it while we should be working.

But Anita Rockmore emailed that she will go to a game for the first time in years simply to support the protesting players. She also blamed Trump for ginning up the controversy:

I am so embarrassed that the dignity of the presidential office has been reduced to a high school locker room by this rich boy draft dodger. This peaceful protest never had anything to do with the military and he knows or should know this...it's been years since I bought a pro ticket but I will buy one now to show I support them 100%.

And Francisco Castro said the president was way out of line by suggesting that NFL players should be "fired," as President Trump said, or punished for refusing to stand during the anthem.

Some of you, like Karen Blair, said if players want to protest about America, maybe they should find another country to play football in:

If NFL players have no respect for this country,  then they should leave.   Let them move to Canada and play in the CFL.   Not standing during the national anthem is like disrespecting your own mother. 

Others tried to put the controversy in perspective, writing that the country has much bigger concerns than worrying about a peaceful protest. Jeremy Eubank emailed his opinion:

The disgusting thing about this movement is that it distracts from the real issues at hand: hurricane relief, crumbling infrastructure, outdated tax code, terrorism and the biggest of all that the US is $20 TRILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT. Can’t we all just get along and change our focus to topics that matter the most???

Ritta Hanson also tried to put the controversy in perspective:

Next week, we'll ask your opinion on another topic. In the meantime, you can go to our Facebook page or Twitter and share your thoughts there. You can also share your thoughts here. You can share your opinions in the form of text, photos, video, drawings or audio recordings.

And take a look at our Feedback Friday page for another way to express your what's on your mind.

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