The post below is an open letter from Assemblyman David Rible, R-Wall, to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, issued Monday:

I am writing to request your assistance in addressing the recent displays of blatant disrespect of the National Anthem during National Football League games, beginning with the activities of quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

David Rible (via
David Rible (via

While I respect the rights of all citizens to exercise freedom of speech, I cannot respect the manner in which Kaepernick and other athletes have chosen to exercise this right. These protests are absolutely reprehensible and show a despicable, self-centered disregard for the sacrifices of our servicemen and women who have fought and, too often, have selflessly given their lives for the very right Kaepernick and others exercised so inappropriately.

As such, I have introduced New Jersey Assembly Resolution 181, which condemns professional athletes who fail to stand for our National Anthem. Additionally, this resolution calls on the athletes to remember the symbolism behind our National Anthem and the American flag: perseverance, resilience, and unity. It also urges professional athletes to remember that they serve as role models for our young citizens and that true leadership should come from a place of national respect, rather than self-serving protest.

These protests have already evoked outrage and disgust from many members of the military, concerned civilians, and lawmakers across the country. In fact, a constituent shared a letter addressed to you from a retired Marine, and published by former Florida Congressman Allen West, which expressed the sentiment that “legends and heroes do NOT wear shoulder pads(:) they wear body armor and carry rifles.” I could not agree more wholeheartedly with this sentiment and hope that you do not “condone it all by your refusal to act.”

I am hopeful you will agree that the protests of NFL athletes during the National Anthem are ill-advised and entirely inappropriate. I am concerned that these displays of disrespect not only divide our country at a time when we should be united, but also provide an example of poor leadership to young citizens who look up to professional athletes as role models.

Therefore, I respectfully request you take action to ensure that these athletes fully comprehend the contempt they show for those serving them in the Armed Forces, law enforcement, and first-response services through their protests. Moreover, I urge you to join me in publicly condemning these protests and to use the power of your office, as Commissioner, to prohibit all protests during the National Anthem.

Thank you for your attention to this request and please feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance in this or any other matter.

David P. Rible
Assemblyman, 30th District

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