Kris Kobach challenged protests in the NFL in his latest Breitbart column, with a headline that said “taking a knee during the national anthem is not only unpatriotic, it’s ignorant.”
The Kansas secretary of state, and supporter of President Donald Trump, wrote that when it came to the demonstrations in the NFL, “the absurdity reached a new high on Sunday,” in reference to an NFL game that took place in London.
“But how can these NFL players disrespect the very country that gives them the opportunity to earn seven- or eight-figure salaries just for playing a game that they enjoy?” Kobach wrote. “There’s no other place on earth that they can become rich role models just by playing American football.”
Many players across the NFL either locked arms or knelt during the national anthem in response to Trump’s vocal criticism of earlier protests by some in the league.
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On Friday, Trump spoke at a rally where his remarks about the NFL gained national attention.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b---- off the field right now,’ ” Trump said. according to McClatchy DC. “ ‘He is fired.’ ”
Trump tweeted Saturday that “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect.......our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”
Those comments triggered the demonstrations Sunday. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith called the president’s comments on player protests “very alarming.”
Kobach wrote this week that the “act of NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem has gone from being a stunt to a plague that is infecting the whole league.”
“They should be celebrating the American Constitution and the American system, not disrespecting it,” Kobach wrote. “If they want to protest incidents of police shootings, they should wear symbolic armbands naming the victims or put stickers on their warm-up gear on the sidelines. That would be more specific and it wouldn’t disrespect our country.”
At the end of his column, Kobach wrote that he didn’t think the players would take his advice.
“Maybe they really do despise America and all that it stands for,” Kobach wrote. “If that’s the case, then I encourage them to do something truly courageous. Give up your cushy salary and try making such a comfortable living in another country.”
Robert Cronkleton and Blair Kerkhoff contributed to this report.