East Fishkill, NY - Earlier today, New York State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R-East Fishkill) wrote to New York Giants President and Chief Executive Officer John K. Mara to express displeasure over the Giants protesting the National Anthem. Lalor cited numerous recent studies to dispute claims by protesting NFL players that police officers are targeting minorities. The letter describes how Lalors recent positive family outing to a Giants game was sullied by the protests and called on Mara to stand up for the anthem, the military and especially law enforcement.
Lalor's letter to President and Chief Executive Officer John K. Mara is available here.
In the letter, Lalor writes, It was particularly disrespectful and disappointing of Giants Defensive End Oliver Vernon to kneel in our nations capital during a prime time game on a great American holiday with a US Army Master Sergeant singing "The Star-Spangled Banner." Adding insult to injury, of the six teams that played on Thanksgiving Day, only the Giants had a player kneel.
Lalor, a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom asks Mara, How do I explain to my sons and daughters, who come from a family of US Marines and law enforcement officers, that we root for a team that allows its employees to use their work time to disrespect the flag, those who have defended it and the police officers who keep our neighborhoods safe? Lalor went on to cite research from Harvard University, The Manhattan Institute, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Washington State University and the Center for Policing Equity that demonstrates that law enforcement officers do not target minorities.
Lalor also dismissed claims that NFL players have a right to protest at work. As a lawyer, you are well aware that these protests do not implicate the First Amendment because there is no government action limiting speech. You are in a position to stop the workplace protests of your football-playing employees just as you would if a hot dog vendor was wearing a protest sign.
Lalor ended the letter, writing, Prior to the National Anthem protests, the NFL and the Giants had always been a unifying force in our culture. People of different racial, religious, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds came together on Sunday to root for their team. During the anthem, fans of both teams set aside bitter football rivalries and stood together and honored our flag and all it stands for, living out our nations motto E pluribus unum: out of many, one. My sincere hope is that you will, prior to this weeks game, take a stand for our anthem, our military and especially our wrongly maligned law enforcement officers and ensure that all New York Giants are standing for our National Anthem.