Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman began his career at the United States Naval Academy, but he decided to transfer after his freshman season because he wanted to pursue a career in the NFL. According to a group of anonymous military veterans, Gilman betrayed his country when he made that move.

Can we talk about this for a second?

I won’t reference my military service very often in this space because for the most part it’s completely irrelevant to my opinions on sports. Furthermore, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m using it as a shield or pedestal for myself. My service does not protect me from criticism, nor does it make me better than you. My correct opinions protect me from criticism, and my silky mitts and sweet dangles make me better than you. That’s it.

All that being said – whoever wrote this letter to Gilman is a fucking dope. The fact that whoever did write it referred to themselves as “veterans” makes them a double dope. Military service is a deeply personal decision. Most people, for incredibly valid reasons, do not want to serve in the military. There is nothing wrong, or shameful, or cowardly with not wanting to serve in the military. We do not live in the Starship Troopers universe where “Service equals citizenship” or some bullshit like that.

To harass and call this kid a coward because his desire to attempt to play professional football outweighs his desire to join the military shows that those writing the letter didn’t serve for any reasons altruistic, but instead to use as a club to bludgeon anyone who disagrees with their life choices.

It’s embarrassing when things like this happen because it gives the impression that all veterans, or at least most are lockstep with these kinds of opinions/actions. The truth of the matter is – no. These guys were fucking idiots. Most members of the military understand that this life isn’t for everyone, and is often a second option when grander plans don’t work out.

Alohi Gilman isn’t a coward. He’s a college kid making adult decisions that are going to impact the rest of his life. The authors of the letter are the cowards, too scared to sign their own names – instead blanketing themselves with a title that frankly they’ve failed to uphold.