Letter: Rick Rogina

To the editor:

Commissioner/president of NFL Players Association,

It’s taken me days to calm myself after watching our country, its flag and National Anthem be so disrespected on the 9/11 anniversary. I’m a retired U.S. Marine who has spent 20 years defending and being away from my family for months on end defending the very things that you and your band of millionaires take a knee to.

Have you or any of those players that take a knee been on a battlefield where missiles and men are trying to kill you? I have. Explosions so hard and loud that its shakes you to your very core. Have you every stayed awake nearly 48 hours straight not knowing if the next bullet or explosion will be your last? I have.

Have you ever had to present a folded flag to a family member or at a funeral for a loved one that was killed in action? I have. As a matter of fact, it was one of my best friends killed by a sniper on the first day of battle back in Iraq in 2003. Our families lived blocks from each other in base housing. Our kids went to school and Sunday school together.

My first thought was of his wife and two beautiful children and how they were going to react when the news was delivered. It was not for my own safety or of those Marines around me as things were going off around us. My unit lost two Marines that their flag-draped coffins were delivered to their families. Can’t take a knee to that.

And yet you are as much responsible for the despicable acts on that day as the players that chose to kneel. I know all about the freedom of speech, but this cuts way deeper. For me, this covers all men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice so we may be free. Can’t take a knee to that.

Their souls should, and I would hope they (do), haunt you and those players that choose to take a knee each game. Our country is going in the wrong direction and is as soft and vulnerable as I’ve ever seen. With these disgraceful actions, you and those players are part of that. How could young children look up to someone like that as a role model? Can’t take a knee to that.

I and my fellow veterans of all branches of the military are choosing to boycott watching or going to any NFL games until these actions are rectified. The national news recently stated that the NFL game viewing was down 11 percent. I can only hope it grows to 100 percent.

As I sit here at my desk typing this, I looked up the word “oppression” — an act or instance of oppressing or subjecting to cruel or unjust impositions or restraints; the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel or unjust manner. The latter sounds like the NFL and its lack of respect for its country, flag and national anthem. Take a knee to that.

Rick Rogina

GySgt USMC (Retired)