The Baxley News-Banner has always tried to make it as clear as possible that we do not necessarily agree with every opinion or letter that is written and published on the editorial pages in this publication. Case in point, while we understood a columnist’s stance last week when he decided to share his opinion about the recent controversy surrounding NFL player Colin Kaepernick, that doesn’t mean this newspaper agreed with the writer’s assessment of the situation.
However, does this mean we should suppress freedom of speech? I think not as this would mean we are going against the very fabric of our society.
I have always encouraged columnists to write their opinions based on their beliefs and never told any writer what to write about. I have, however, warned writers when I’ve felt their opinions could be interpreted in a negative light by readers and did last week. The writer felt strong in his beliefs; enough to proceed with the column regardless of my warning. As expected the writer received some backlash to his opinion and some even indicated that the newspaper was in full agreement with the writer’s opinion. Again, just because it is expressed on these pages doesn’t mean we concur with all of the opinions shared. There have been times when I have disagreed with just about every columnist that writes for this newspaper.
I agree with the writer that Kaepernick has every right to protest, just as the writer has every right to express his opinion. However, could this professional athlete, considering his platform and notoriety, found a better way to make his point rather than offend the majority of the country and especially the men and women who have fought (and even died) to give him the right to protest in the first place? It is hard for me to watch Americans disrespect this country and our flag knowing the sacrifices that have been paid, even when I know they have that right to protest.