Nugent, who played “The Star-Spangled Banner” at several Donald Trump rallies leading up to this year’s presidential election, discussed the issue of NFL players taking a knee during the anthem in an interview with “America This Week With Eric Bolling”, Sinclair Broadcast Group‘s weekly news program hosted by conservative Fox News alum Eric Bolling.
Speaking about how he feels about players who do not stand during the national anthem and who “disrespect the flag” of the United States of America, Ted said (see video below): “Well, it makes me identify those people as being real soulless, real stupid. They don’t even know what they’re doing. They claim that somebody’s hands were up and they got shot. That’s a lie. I know the situation. I’ve studied the situation. Nobody’s hands were up, and nobody got shot. So the entire premise of that so-called protest is based on a lie. And they can’t be that stupid — they know it’s a lie. They’re just liars. So when you see someone disrespecting our flag, they don’t deserve any respect themselves, and they should be ashamed of themselves.”
Trump has been fiercely critical of NFL players who have kneeled during the national anthem and taken stands to protest social injustice across the United States.
After Detroit Lions‘ quarterback Matthew Stafford and Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson took a knee before the teams’ annual Thanksgiving game at Ford Field in downtown Detroit, Trump tweeted: “No thanks!”
The controversy started simmering four years ago when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to kneel during the national anthem.
Players who have gotten on one knee during the anthem have said that it is a form a protest against police shootings and racial injustice.
A number of musicians and celebrities have shown their solidarity with the athletes for not standing during the anthem. PEARL JAM offered support for “everyone’s constitutional right to stand up, sit down or #takeaknee for equality,” while LIVING COLOUR guitarist Vernon Reid pointed out in a tweet that the protests aren’t against the flag or the anthem but institutionalized racism. PEARL JAM frontman Eddie Vedder and PROPHETS OF RAGE are among the artists who have posted pictures or videos of themselves “taking a knee” in concert. Others, like STRYPER frontman Michael Sweet, have said that players should just “play ball and do the job that you get paid millions and millions of dollars to do.”