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What seems to be missing in the discussion surrounding the recent trend of athletes sitting during the national anthem is the fact that they are all on the clock, so to speak [“President defends Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest,” News, Sept. 6].

These rare individuals who are fortunate enough to make good livings doing something the rest of us dream about are employees of sports organizations. They talk of their First Amendment rights as if they are sacred and guaranteed all the time. This is clearly not the case.

The barista at Starbucks cannot slap a “Trump for president” sticker on my double-tall, no-whip mocha as he or she hands it to me without risking the ire of Howard Schultz. The flight attendant, possessing those same First Amendment rights, can’t decide to tack on his or her own political commentary during the safety demonstration at take off. There is an expectation that employees will keep their personal and political opinions to themselves while serving their customers.

No matter the product — whether you’re talking clothing, an automobile, or taking in a sporting event — the consumer has the legitimate expectation that the purveyors of that product will deliver just that. Those individuals who sit during the national anthem are free to do so when they are private individuals, just like the rest of us.

I wish their respective employers would grow a little backbone and stand up to these folks. Either that or let there be a free-for-all: socks with pigs on them, baseball caps with “abortion kills” across the back, and whatever else is fair game.

I am a physician. When people come to see me about that pesky sore throat, that’s why they walk in the door. They don’t want, nor should they be forced to listen to, my personal views on any subject under the sun.

Steve Dudley, Shoreline