Buffalo Bills players kneel during the national anthem before their NFL football game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y. (Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)

As someone who has attended major sporting events for more than 40 years, I have never failed to stand with my hand or hat over my heart during the national anthem, even while waiting in a concession line ["NFL players stand in solidarity," front page, Sept. 25]. On these occasions, I have witnessed literally thousands of fans failing to remove their hats, cease their conversations, stop drinking their beer or even stand while the anthem was being played.

I wonder if the president, who so callously chose to throw more than 1,600, mostly African American National Football League players under the bus as "SOBs," because some cared enough to exercise their right to free expression, has an opinion on (or has even noticed) those simply too lazy and/or self-absorbed to acknowledge the anthem. That he, incredibly, doesn't appear to believe there are "good people" on both sides of this issue should tell all Americans we have a president who believes more in stoking false anger among his alt-right base than the democracy for which we are all called to stand up.

A.J. Carle, Oak Hill

I'm not a fan of either political party, and I'm not a big fan of professional sports either, but I have to say that President Trump's comments about standing during the national anthem were at least partially correct. These wealthy, privileged athletes should stand. It's as simple as that.

I've stood for "O Canada." And I would stand for "La Marseillaise" or "God Save the Queen." Heck, I would even stand for the North Korean anthem. It is a simple sign of courtesy and respect for the people of the country whose anthem is being played. The athletes have a right not to stand, but I have a right not to watch them.

Clifford Hinkes, Derwood

I hope someone can educate National Football League athletes so they know that disrespecting the flag is not protesting the government but saying that the lives lost to keep that flag flying were wasted. I have served in the military to ensure these athletes have the right to protest, and I will support their right to protest. They have a right to not stand for the flag and national anthem, and I have the right to never buy or watch anything affiliated with the NFL. I hope every soldier and his or her supporters do the same to let the NFL know where we stand on the issue.

David Nance, Sterling

Thank you for Sept. 25's appropriate and succinct editorial "They don't have to stand for it."

Peaceful and dignified demonstrations highlighting "debate about race, policing and criminal justice" should trump the president's misguided and distorted view of American patriotism.

Elizabeth Richter, Alexandria

While I agree with much that was written in the Sept. 25 editorial about free speech and the National Football League protests, I wonder if I am the only one who finds this whole brouhaha over standing for the national anthem at football games ridiculous.

Why do we conflate professional sporting events with patriotism in the first place? Professional sports leagues are multibillion-dollar private-sector businesses, the players are highly paid professionals, not public servants, and the games are mere entertainment for those who choose to attend or watch them. The games are not patriotic or national observances or ceremonies. Save the national anthem for appropriate civic occasions.

Barbara Bares, Chevy Chase

Disrespecting the flag? Please. What disrespects the flag is using it as the opening act of every sports event in the United States. That's something we no longer should stand for.

Reid Grosky, Los Angeles