Members of Congress found a partisan divide over the NFL’s new policy on players kneeling in protest during the national anthem.
The league announced last week that players who kneel during the anthem on the field would be fined, but they can stay in the locker room if they want to protest.
Kneeling during the national anthem became a form of protest when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began doing so in 2016 to protest police brutality. Kaepernick hasn’t been signed by an NFL team since that season.
New York Rep. Peter T. King criticized New York Jets Chairman Christopher Johnson for saying he would pay the fines of players who kneel during the anthem, CBS reported.
Disgraceful that @nyjets owner will pay fines for players who kneel for National Anthem. Encouraging a movement premised on lies vs. police. Would he support all player protests? Would he pay fines of players giving Nazi salutes or spew racism? It’s time to say goodbye to Jets!— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) May 26, 2018
King asked if Johnson would support all player protests.
“Would he pay fines of players giving Nazi salutes or spew racism?” he asked on Twitter. “It’s time to say goodbye to the Jets!”
Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota criticized the NFL for trying to silence players, saying he would boycott the league for its “cowardly and idiotic kneeling ban.”
Friends who know me, know that I love football. But I won’t be watching this NFL season because of the unfair cowardly and idiotic kneeling ban. #BoycottNFL— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) May 27, 2018
The protest received even larger national attention when President Donald Trump said last year owners should “get that son of a bitch off the field” if a player protested during the anthem.
Vice President Mike Pence also joined in that criticism when he walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game in October when players took a knee.
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