President Donald Trump made clear his feelings for football players who decide to engage in silent protest during the playing of the national anthem.
During an interview on his favorite weekday morning news show “Fox & Friends,” Trump discussed the issue of National Football League players kneeling, and his thoughts on the league’s new policies allowing players who want to protest to stay in locker rooms.
Players who go out onto the field during the anthem will be expected to stand, the NFL said on Wednesday. Failure to do so could result in fines for players.
“Well, I think that’s good. I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms,” Trump said. “But still, I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
That’s a disheartening statement to hear from the president of the United States. Dissent is a treasured institution in our nation, and while he doesn’t necessarily have to like players kneeling, it’s outrageous for Trump to suggest that those players don’t deserve to be in America for doing so.
The protests, started in 2016 by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, are being conducted during the anthem to bring to light racial disparities in the nation — an issue that Trump could do well to educate himself upon, given the many racist statements he’s made in the past.
The president’s comments should be condemned by all who hear them for suggesting the First Amendment right to speech is an offense worthy of deportation. Trump has demonstrated his propensity to admire autocratic ideals in the past, and unfortunately they continue to come out of his lips as time goes by in his presidency.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Carlos Barria/Reuters