First of all, let me make it clear that my father served a tour in Vietnam in the 1960s, my older brother served two tours in Vietnam in the 1960s, and I dutifully went down to the draft board in the fall of 1973 to register for the draft. As I was required, by law, to do. Second, I asked both of them if they were offended by the protests, both answered that they were not.

Anyway, a few days ago this paper published a letter from a veteran, who I thank for his service, about the NFL not providing a public forum. I have to disagree. Once the NFL adopted a policy, rule, or whatever it’s called, requiring that the anthem be played, the NFL provided the forum. Federal law does not require that the anthem be played at the beginning of sports events. As for those whiny millionaires, let me say that most of them are not millionaires. Plus, these so-called whinny millionaires risk the loss of a season or a career when they step on the field, for our enjoyment. In Monday’s game, I saw a player suffer a serious blow to the head and another suffer a season-ending injury. Sunday, I saw Odell Beckham suffer an injury that puts him out for the season. So yes, many of them are highly paid and no, they are not soldiers in some far-off war, but they risk serious and in some instances lifelong injuries for our enjoyment.

Recently, I read Eleanor Ransburg’s column. She cited the NFL rule. Did you notice that in the place of the word “shall” is the word “should” and in some instances, the word “may” is used instead of “shall.” Also, in Section 301 of U.S. Code Title 36, which provides that the Star- Spangled Banner is designated as the national anthem and which also defines the conduct of persons, while it’s being played, also uses the word “should” four times. Not “shall.” By the way, there is no penalty or fine, if the law is not followed, as it is suggested to be followed.

These players are not disrespecting the flag, veterans or active duty personnel; they are trying to draw attention to what they see as a very important issue. Many people say that the players should use another forum. What? A news conference? Serve on a panel? Many of them have done that. Did anyone pay any attention? Just another whiny millionaire on TV. However, this got your attention and what people should be doing is asking themselves if is there a problem and should there be a national conversation about it — instead of deflecting the issue.

Clifford Williams

retired state employee

Baton Rouge