YouTube/NFL Doug Baldwin

NFL players protesting during the national anthem has been interpreted in all sorts of different ways. Many critics insist players are disrespecting the military by kneeling, raising a fist and making other gestures during the Star-Spangled Banner. Players say they are protesting police brutality and social injustice -- not the military.

Well, if you watched the NFL this past Sunday, you might have noticed the protesters addressed this issue head-on. November is "Salute to Servicemonth in the NFL, meaning the league will engage in a series of military-appreciation initiatives. The NFL and NFLPA started with a commercial featuring Malcolm Jenkins, Doug Baldwin, Chris Long and Delanie Walker. This is especially important because all four players have been at the forefront of the national anthem protests in some manner.

Here's the full text:

Baldwin: "We live in this amazing country."

Long: "Take a second and realize how lucky we are."

Baldwin: "All of us in the locker room, we've been touched by just spending time with military personnel, having military personnel in our families."

Jenkins: "I reflect on my grandfather, knowing that I kind of get to live my dream because somebody else is fighting for that."

Baldwin: "And when I ask myself, what did they sacrifice for? What was the purpose? It was to protect our freedoms."

Walker: "So thank you, for all y'all do."

The message these players are trying to make it obvious: Their protest are not against the military and their intent was never about "disrespecting the flag." These men are thanking and praising the military with American flags and troops behind them.

Baldwin makes the climatic point: "It was to protect our freedoms." Of course, by protesting during the national anthem, players believe they are exercising their first amendment right.

"It’s never been about the military. It's never been about the flag,” Jenkins recently told USA Today Sports. "Those things aren't mutually exclusive. You can continue to protest and draw awareness to social injustices while still honoring those who have served for us."

Jenkins, whose grandfather received a Purple Heart during his service in the Korean War, has raised a clenched fist during national anthems this season. Long, who is white, has stood with an arm around Jenkins. Baldwin and Jenkins recently appeared on a CNN Town Hall about the anthem protests. Walker, a tight end for the Titans, claimed to have received death threats after he defended his team's decision to stay in the locker room for a national anthem.

Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long

Some will ignore the players' arguments in this commercial. They will say anything but standing with a hat/helmet off and a hand over one's heart during the national anthem is disrespectful to the military. They will say disrespecting the flag is disrespecting America. Other fans will say the U.S. military fights to protect freedom of expression, and this will only fuel the long social media debate.

If anyone asks how the players can protest during the national anthem and not be discourteous toward the military, this is the players' argument. Fans keep asking, "What are the players protesting?" Well, this is made to show what they are not protesting: Amercian veterans and active military.

This national anthem debate has been going on for more than a year since Colin Kaepernick began his protest against social injustice and police brutality. While some players took Kaepernick's lead in trying to increase awareness of these problems, others only began to demonstrate during the anthem in late September when President Donald Trump added another layer to the saga by calling a player who kneels a "son of a bitch."

Protest leaders have had a month to digest such an accusation from the executive branch, and this is a calculated response with true substance. It addresses much of the counter-argument to the players' demonstrations.

Baldwin and Walker also have their own commercials that can be found on the NFL YouTube page. With Veterans Day coming this weekend, look for the NFL to release an abundance of Salute to Service content.

-- Follow Jeff Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband. Like Jeff Eisenband on Facebook.

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