Concerning the “Bison deserve praise, not criticism, for their pregame message” column by Mike McFeely published Oct. 8: I’m not one of those fans who want the Bison players to “shut up and play football.” But I do question the substance and timing of their “team-building message.”

They say they are a team that “will always stick together.” The first line and last line of their message is not true. “We stand here today” is false as about 15 Bison players were kneeling. And since most were standing, the team was not really “united together.”

But my main point is that the message refers to lives that matter: “My life matters. His life matters.” It seems rather selfish to me. They don’t include all lives. The Black Lives Matter movement does not include the ‘little’ Black lives that are lost to abortion. And it’s a significant number of Blacks - 32% of all abortions in the US are Black babies. I think this tragedy far outweighs the lives lost due to racial injustice.

They say they want to “take actions that will help this community be better.” Taking a knee during the national anthem does not accomplish this. The players have every right to protest racial injustice, but there is a time and a place to speak out against this.

The team-building message says it’s not about disrespecting the flag. They should know, and the coaches should know, that kneeling during the anthem is everything about disrespecting the flag.

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Many Bison fans are veterans, young and old. Sometimes North Dakota State University honors each branch of service during pregame ceremonies. I am a retired Navy veteran who served my country with honor and pride. I have an uncle and a cousin who gave their lives to protect our freedoms. Their lives matter to me. I think of my family members and all veterans who gave their lives every time I hear our national anthem. It’s an emotional time of gratitude for me. When you kneel during the national anthem you not only disrespect the flag and our country, you are disrespecting all those lives that were lost. And know this, without those lives, we wouldn’t be playing football.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.