Celebrities have a major platform. It’s time for the rest of us to make our voices heard, too.

Letter edited for clarity and grammar:

I salute the NFL players who continue to stand during the national anthem. I also respect the rights of those who do not.

Athletes have a major platform in this nation, but we are citizens of the same country, and I believe others now must make their voices heard.

I was born and raised in New York. Sept. 11 was the formative experience of my life. It was one of the main reasons I joined the Marines. When I returned from Afghanistan, I attended a Baltimore Ravens game. I underestimated how uncomfortable the crowd would make me. As they prepared for kickoff, I wondered why something I used to love suddenly held no joy for me. Then the national anthem began. All around me I saw hands over hearts, and I began to cry. I thought of my Marines in the middle of our deployment, their bodies breaking but their fighting spirits never wavering. I thought of those we could not bring home and their families.

I don’t question the patriotism of athletes who choose to sit during the anthem. They say they want to start a conversation. Challenge accepted.

James Ferguson; Cockeysville, Md.

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We asked what readers thought of Seahawks’ Michael Bennett, who says Vegas police brutalized him, sitting during anthem. Tweets edited for clarity and grammar:

Any man should have right to express his feelings after that experience. We are supposed to be one people!


He needs to hire a lawyer. This is why I don’t watch football. That’s what he gets paid for, not his political statements.


This is killing the NFL.


Someone here isn’t telling the truth. As a nation we need to find out which one with an independent review and prosecute.


Stand for anthem. Also protest via interviews and social media. Cycle of disrespect isn’t helpful.


For more of the conversation, follow @USATOpinion or #tellusatoday.

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