What a great article in the Sept. 7 Sports section ("Vikings great Yary sounds off"). Minnesota Vikings Hall of Famer Ron Yary, who says he's done with the NFL until anthem protests stop, expressed the feelings of what I believe is the "silent majority of the general public." The job site should never be the platform for protests.
NFL officials, owners and managers need to agree on a mutual stance that protests are not allowed in this manner. Eventually, the major advertisers will realize the importance of this issue to the majority population and will reduce and cancel huge advertising contracts.
I recall members of the Minnesota Lynx wearing certain apparel with language on their uniform on the basketball court for a home game. That was the last time I attended and/or watched one of the team's games. Meanwhile, I believe that the NBA has rules that prohibit untucked jerseys. Yet we want to allow this conduct in the NFL?
If an NFL player remains off the field for the national anthem, he can remain off the field permanently.
There are plenty of qualified replacements.
Charles F. Stennes, Edina
• • •
At the end of the Sept. 7 article, Yary states: "And if you want to disagree with me, go to hell. Stay out of my way." That only diminished the honesty and points that I had heard from him. It was a harsh block after the play.
Hell is indeed where we are in this country, when there is little or no desire at all for civil, meaningful debate — no room for others' views. About the NFL protests, could the Star Tribune share the opinion of another Vikings great of the same era, former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page? Page does not speak in the manner of the sacks he delivered on the field but with measured, meaningful insight gained from years in deliberation of laws and justice, always allowing room for opinions other than his own. I really don't know what view Page would share, but my guess is that he might call attention to the fact that the NFL protests are about a justice issue seen as a very real life-or-death matter by many, not as antiflag or antimilitary protests as they are so often painted.
Can we listen to each other, without the blocking?
John Anderson, Oak Grove
• • •
After reading the article about Yary, the only conclusion I can reach is that he shows a surprising lack of empathy for the minority teammates he worked with for years. I don't know anything about his background, but I can speak to mine and the effect 1968 had on me as a teenager in a lily-white neighborhood in St. Paul.
I personally didn't know anything about racial friction until riots in 1968 and the subsequent Olympics in Mexico City that October. Those riots had a profound effect on me as I approached my 16th birthday. Because of that, I had an inkling why Tommy Smith and John Carlos raised their fists on the medals stand during the Mexico City Olympics.
It goes without saying the reaction of white Americans was strong. It was their right to denounce the actions of Smith and Carlos, but in doing so they avoided the sad truths about the society we lived in and tried to kick the can down the street to another generation.
Those events did eventually lead to some advances, but subtle bigotry continued across the nation. Somehow we have allowed it to grow to the point where people are again openly espousing white nationalism and memories of Nazi Germany, while failing to admit the racial atrocities that were committed during that era. Given that context, I fully support the right for athletes to silently protest during the national anthem, and all the more power to them for pointing out the continuing inequities our minorities face in 2018.
As for Yary, his argument about voicing protest in the workplace rings hollow in my ears. He needs to understand that every once in a while we need that metaphorical dash of cold water in the face so we remember the morals that were given birth in the Bill of Rights.
Dale Jernberg, Minneapolis
• • •
I am a lifelong Vikings fan, and I admire Ron Yary. His criticism of NFL players for protesting during the national anthem, however, is wrong. Yary correctly points out that NFL fans are consumers, that the players are employees and that no one wants an employee making political statements to them when they patronize a business. And the NFL is indeed a business — a multibillion-dollar one. But the league has made the anthem part of its product and 32 "job sites." As Yary says, the anthem stands for the right of all citizens to protest. The NFL cannot use our nation's song as part of its product and then turn around and criticize anyone, employees included, who peacefully do exactly what it stands for. Doing so would mean that the league is cravenly using our cherished symbols in bad faith solely to make money, and surely that cannot be the case.
Robert Lewis, St. Paul
I'll be impressed when he gives to charity, writer says. Well …
A Sept. 8 letter writer stated that Nike's ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick had one motivation: to make money. If there were any genuine social value in the deal, he went on to say, Kaepernick and Nike would donate a large portion of their earnings from the deal to charity.
Apparently, the letter writer doesn't know or doesn't want to know that Kaepernick is already doing this. The first year he was de facto barred from the NFL, he pledged to donate $1 million to charity. He did just that, giving grants to 41 different agencies and civic groups anywhere from $25,000 to $34,000 each. Makes me wonder if the writer was genuine in calling on Kaepernick to give back to his community or just wanted to criticize him for taking a knee for social justice.
Jan Linn, Apple Valley
LINE 3 PIPELINE REPLACEMENT
A solid, fair process is needed on removal of old pipelines
Minnesota's landowners are on multiple sides of the issues surrounding Line 3, but most agree that landowners should have the ultimate say over what happens on and to their land. In June, Enbridge proposed the Landowner Choice Program during the Public Utility Commission's hearings, and on Tuesday the PUC will meet to firm up conditions on it as part of the pipeline's final permit. Currently, Minnesota's landowners have two removal options for the old pipeline (full or no removal), but Canadian landowners have a variety of choices (full, partial or no removal, segmentation or grouting), and Enbridge isn't allowing Minnesotans to revisit this issue in the future while Canadians retain this right. These matters alone deserve discussion.
But the Landowner Choice Program carries other concerns, as well. It doesn't provide a common-sense approach to permitting, such as permits being submitted jointly by Enbridge and the landowner or a process guaranteeing landowners the right to review applications before they're submitted. It allows Enbridge to permanently alter the land title after a removal choice is made but does not guarantee landowners reimbursement if they desire legal advice while making this decision. What's more, it's unclear if landowners will be able to access the PUC's complaint process should that need arise. Last, as a company-proposed and -implemented program, it doesn't set precedent around pipeline removal in our state, so we'll continue to revisit this issue as pipelines age.
Minnesota's' landowners deserve a true landowner choice program with adequate protections, and Minnesota deserves removal precedent to be set.
Colleen Bernu, Cloquet, Minn.