Tnen-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in Los Angeles on Dec. 24, 2016. (Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports/Reuters)

Max Boot’s Sept. 11 op-ed, “Protest is as American as NFL games,” reminded me of the quote that “to sin by silence . . . makes cowards out of men.” The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. similarly spoke of cowardice juxtaposed against taking a stand.

Mr. Boot confirmed that true democracies need protest and that those who would stifle protest by bullying courageous men such as Colin Kaepernick do not respect democracy. It is important that Americans understand what is at stake for our democracy if peaceful protest is stifled. Beyond attacks on Mr. Kaepernick, the bullies are unrelenting. There is an aggressive, well-financed attempt to pass anti-boycott legislation in many states that cuts sharply against the American democratic tradition — think of the Boston Tea Party or the Montgomery bus boycott.

If the bullies win, the rest of us lose.  

Nora Burgan, Falls Church