“The young, black athletes are not disrespecting America or the military by taking a knee during the anthem,” WFAA’s Dale Hansen said on the station’s Monday night broadcast. “They are respecting the best thing about America. It’s a dog whistle to the racists among us to say otherwise.”
Hansen, a Vietnam War veteran, laid into Trump, who used vulgar language to call on NFL owners to fire kneeling players, and called him a hypocrite.
“Donald Trump has said he supports a peaceful protest because it’s an American’s right. But not this protest, and there’s the problem: Any protest you don’t agree with is a protest that should be stopped,” Hansen said, bringing up the topics of white privilege, civil rights and Trump’s widely criticized attempts to distance himself from white supremacists and Nazis following violent events in Charlottesville last month.
“Maybe we all need to read our Constitution again. There has never been a better use of pen to paper. Our forefathers made freedom of speech the First Amendment. They listed 10, and not one of them says you have to stand during the anthem.“And I think those men respected the country they fought for and founded — a great deal more than the self-proclaimed patriots who are simply hypocrites, because they want to deny the basic freedom of this great country.”
Trump has long been a critic of the national anthem protest, which began ahead of the 2016 season with Colin Kaepernick, who knelt to bring attention to the shootings of unarmed black men by law enforcement.
At the time, Trump, then a candidate for president, suggested Kaepernick move to another country if he didn’t like this one.
Since then, a handful of players joined Kaepernick’s protest and continued to kneel this season, while Kaepernick remains a free agent.
Trump doubled down on his 2016 comments on at a political rally in Alabama on Friday, calling Kaepernick and others who continue to take a knee a “son of a bitch.”
Trump has continued his tirade online, using Twitter to continue to call for NFL boycotts until the owners start to demand players stand.
The comments have not been met with obedience, however, as even some the most conservative NFL leaders displayed unity with the players at this weekend’s games. Among them was Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who supported Trump ahead of the election. He joined his team to kneel before the anthem ahead of Monday night’s win against the Arizona Cardinals, but stood up when the anthem began to play, a move Trump deemed “progress” on Tuesday.