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Letter: It’s disappointing to see players disrespect flag

It’s disappointing to see players disrespect flag

I was very disappointed to learn that three Canisius women volleyball players elected to take a knee during the playing of our national anthem before their games. I was more disappointed that the athletic director and the coach supported this disrespectful act and failed to recommend alternative, more effective methods to make the players’ concerns known.

Athletic Director Bill Maher noted, “the national anthem is a special part of any pregame ceremony here at Canisius College. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as citizens.” Yet he supports his players’ disrespect for our flag, our nation and the veterans who have fought to preserve these liberties.

Instead of Coach Lenika Vazquez pondering “how do I protect them from backlash?” maybe it would have been more appropriate to use a teaching moment to help the players find a more respectful and effective way to make their grievances known.

Having served my country for 23 years as a naval aviator, I abhor racial injustice in any form and I fully support the right of the players to exercise their First Amendment rights. But I also urge them to do it in a respectful way and be very thankful that they live in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Cmdr. Stanley J. Lichwala

U.S. Navy, retired

East Amherst

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