I have been a loyal NFL fan for as long as I can remember. My favorite team was the Patriots.

The word "patriot," to me, identifies a person loyal to his or her homeland. When I observed the disgraceful conduct by many of the Patriots during the playing of our national anthem I immediately left the room and did not watch any further. I will not watch any future NFL games until the NFL again shows respect to our country, flag and national anthem.

Yes, the Constitution ensures the right to free speech. Then why protest the American flag and national anthem of our country, the protector of free speech? Those protesting members of the NFL who do not respect our country should leave.

Tom Brady, who I greatly admired over the years, disappointed me. He did not kneel, but he linked arms with a player in a show of solidarity. That is still a protest. I would have expected Brady to stand tall with his right hand over his heart. He did not. I am also disappointed that Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick have remained fairly quiet about this disgrace.

I served my country for 21 years in the U.S. Army with two combat tours in Vietnam, was awarded the Silver Star, four Bronze Stars with three being for valor and the Purple Heart. Then, and now, I am proud to be an American and will always stand tall to salute the American flag!

Joel E. Sugdinis

Eastham