I agree with Navy Commander John Well's decision to decline a People's Health Champion Award at the Saints game. The sole purpose of the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem is to make known publicly our loyalty to our country, and it should remain just that. The NFL has offered no leadership in this crisis, being weak in every aspect of the problem, and therein lies the problem. It appears that some of the owners agree with the NFL.

Texans CEO Apologizes Football

FILE -In this Dec. 10, 2014 file photo Houston Texans owner Bob McNair speaks at an NFL press conference during an owners meeting, in Irving, Texas. At left is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. McNair has apologized after a report said he declared “we can't have the inmates running the prison” during a meeting of NFL owners over what to do about players who kneel in protest during the national anthem. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade, File)

And importantly, I sympathize with the mission of the demonstrating players, and have done so all of my life. I am a Navy WWII veteran. I served in the Pacific Theater, where my ship traveled over 56,000 miles delivering men and supplies. I received two battle stars, one for Iwo Jima and one for Okinawa. When the war ended, on two occasions we delivered soldiers to southern Japan to serve as occupational troops. After that, my ship participated in bringing our troops back home.

In the early 1960s, after graduating from Tulane Law School, I became a member of the Legal Aid Bureau and formed the Criminal Courts Bar Association, among whose members included the future New Orleans mayor, Dutch Morial and the future judge, Israel Augustine. As president of that organization, I pushed for the creation of the magistrate court so that arrestees would have bail set quickly. I also succeeded in improving conditions for the mentally ill in the criminal justice system.

Letters: Take both knees, and give thanks

As an assistant U.S. attorney in the mid-1960s, I prosecuted police brutality cases, including one with AUSA Dutch Morial, where law enforcement officers had brutally beaten and tortured people they had arrested. I also participated with the Department of Justice in the desegregation of our public schools in New Orleans.

Thereafter, when I was the district attorney of New Orleans for 29 years, my office prosecuted numerous cases of police brutality.

So, the subjects of love for country and opposition to police brutality are not new to me. We all should support both of them, but at the proper time and in the proper places.

Harry Connick

retired district attorney

New Orleans