I would like to respond to the op-ed by Jay Ambrose on Colin Kaepernick, specifically the statement by Mr. Ambrose that Kaepernick’s actions were “not just an insult to the military, as some say, but to a brilliantly formed republic, the country’s remarkable history, its amazing people, its energy and unity.”
My father, Sol Sanfield, was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery in a battle with German soldiers in World War II. I served six years myself in the Army Reserve Medical Core, during the Vietnam War. My father believed, as do I, that he fought for all of the great qualities Mr. Ambrose mentioned about America, but also for American constitutional rights. It is that document from which all of those enduring great aspects do spring.
I understand the strong negative reaction that Mr. Ambrose and others feel witnessing Kaepernick’s actions and statements. However, I would encourage them to at least consider his reasons, and those of many other African American athletes, for expressing themselves in this way.
As a native of Chicago, I observed early in life the pervasive discrimination and even racism of the justice system as applied to these young men. Thanks to cell phone videos, now we all can see examples of this.
I have the greatest admiration for the work and the honor of the great majority of local and state police. But there are too many exceptions and worse, the treatment and prosecution of these men once they are in the “system” is often abhorrent and far different than would be afforded a white defendant from an upscale suburb such as Andover.
Finally, I would remind Mr. Ambrose that Justice Antonin Scalia, the iconic conservative hero, cast the deciding vote in the 1989 case of Texas v. Johnson. In that controversial case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Gregory Johnson, the protester who had burned the flag.
Johnson’s actions, the majority argued, were “symbolic in nature, and could be expressed even at the expense of our national symbol and to the affront of those who disagreed with him.”
Ronald D. Sanfield
10 Harding St.