Rep. Mike Rogers, who represents Auburn in the U.S. House of Representatives, released a statement today on the recent protests that have swept the National Football League.
“I am appalled by those in the NFL that show disrespect during the playing of the national anthem," Rogers said. "The national anthem and our American flag are symbols of all that makes America great in our never ending effort to become a more perfect union. The sacrifice of all the brave Americans in service of our nation, past and present, is honored by the national anthem. These disrespectful protests only serve to divide us and do nothing to foster unity."
"I am very proud of President Trump for standing against these unconscionable acts and am behind him a hundred percent. May God bless our great nation.”
Last Friday at a rally for Sen. Luther Strange's campaign in Huntsville, President Donald Trump segued away from his speech to talk about the NFL.
"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. "He's fired."
Trump's comments in Huntsville prompted almost immediate outrage and response from athletes across major-sports leagues in America.
"I doubt he's man enough to call any of those players a son of a b---- to their face," tweeted NBA All-Star Chris Paul on Saturday.
The hashtag "#TakeAKnee" trended on Twitter over the weekend, and on Sunday and Monday players and coaches from most NFL teams either kneeled, locked arms with one another or remained in the locker room during the anthem.
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The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations. The only way out for them is to set a rule that you can't kneel during our National Anthem!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2017
Protests during the national anthem started last season, when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the pregame national anthem.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in 2016. "To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Kaepernick, who started in the 2013 Super Bowl, opted out of his contract in March after losing the starting job. He has not agreed to a contract with a team since then.
"No above-average quarterback has been unemployed nearly as long as Kaepernick this offseason," data-anaylsis website FiveThirtyEight said in an August article.
Others players began to protest similarly even before Trump's comments. Kaepernick was often joined by 49ers teammate Eric Reid in protest during his time there. In August, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett announced he planned to kneel during the anthem for the entire season.