Minutes after the first NFL game of the day started, showing multiple players kneeling during the national anthem following President Donald Trump’s continued attacks on pro athletes protesting, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin defended the president’s comments. And in doing so, pretty much claimed that NFL players don’t have the right to express free speech on the playing field.
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Mnuchin told host Jake Tapper that because the NFL has different rules, and because of those rules, players shouldn’t be allowed to kneel during the Star Spangled Banner.
“You can’t have stickers on your helmet, you have to have your uniforms tucked in,” Mnuchin said. “What the president is saying — and I think the owners should meet, and they should vote on a rule — this is about respect for our military. This is about respect for our first responders.”
Mnuchin went on to hammer the point that this is about showing respect for the military and law enforcement while making the case that NFL players should only be allowed to express their opinions when not playing.
“Players have the right for free speech off the field,” he stated. “On the field, this is about respect for lots of people. and i don’t understand why there’s rules that when the Dallas Cowboys wanted to put stickers on their helmets out of respect for people there, they couldn’t do it, but now the NFL is saying people should be able to decide what they want to do and disrespect the United States flag.”
This morning, the president took to Twitter to essentially call for an NFL boycott following his demands that any players that protest racial injustice by kneeling during the anthem should be fired.
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]