NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to NFL owners on Tuesday saying that “everyone should stand” for the national anthem. In their third straight day rambling on about the issue on ESPN’s “First Take” Stephen A. Smith told everyone who’s freaking about the NFL curbing first amendment rights to know that they are wrong.
“It’s perfectly within the commissioner’s right to write what he wrote yesterday, to say what he said and to go about the business of trying to address it. Because essentially what the National Football League is saying is this: ‘We need to put an end to this quick, fast and in a hurry,’ because now our bottom line is being compromised,” Smith said Wednesday morning.
“We have to remember when everybody wants to bring up first amendment privileges, basically the intent of it all was for government not to be able to silence you–not the private sector. And the National Football League is the private sector. And if they decide that they want to silence these individual players, if they decide they want to implement a rule that states: ‘You must stand for the national anthem, you must come out that tunnel, out of that locker room, be on the sidelines and stand for the national anthem,’ it’s perfectly within their right to do it as a private industry and a private employer. That is a fact.”
Smith added that the NFL taking this position only proves that there’s a “whole bunch of people out there who feel this way about this issue” and that’s why the NFL has finally decided to engage in discussions about requiring players to stand. (RELATED: Stephen A. Smith Says Jerry Jones ‘Is Not Fooling Anybody’ With His National Anthem Stand)
Before making those comments, Smith called the NFL out for their weak response to Trump and said they need to address him directly because he successfully hijacked the issue from its players.
“The National Football League, as far as I’m concerned, are coming across as incredibly weak in one respect. They need, as a collective body meaning the commissioner in consent with the owners, to address Donald Trump, the President of the United States, and some of his attacks on him. They need to address him directly.”
WATCH THE ACTION THAT RE-IGNITED THE KNEELING CONTROVERSY: