National Football League protesters are “stealing” a moment of “historic unity” by taking a knee during the national anthem, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast said on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday.
“They’re stealing this moment of histrionic unity. Of patriotism, of celebration. Where you give your buddy a high-five and you go out there and have a great day,” said Mast, a Republican from Florida. “And they’ve taken that from us. And I think we have a right to be upset.”
Mast served in the military and lost both of his legs in Afghanistan. He wrote Monday on Facebook:
I have taken a knee after jumping out of a helicopter as we looked for the enemy, taken a knee in front of the Soldiers Cross as we mourned a fallen brother, and taken a knee in church … any player who has taken a knee to protest this great country during its anthem should already be gone.
President Donald Trump was “spot on” with his assessment of the situation, the congressman said Wednesday, and feels the protests during football games are disrespectful to soldiers who lost lives and limbs for the flag.
“I see pictures of friends of mine that have prosthetic arms, rendering a hand salute every single opportunity that they get,” Mast said. “This is very, very serious to us.”
Mast believes the National Football League protesters have a right to express themselves, but said others have just as much of a right to boycott the league and stop spending money on game tickets.
“These players, they’re not going to be thrown into a gulag. They’re not going to be jailed, they’re not going to be arrested or put in handcuffs. That’s the kind of great amazing nation that we are,” he said. “But just as it’s their right to go out there and protest, even if I consider it to be hugely distasteful, it’s our right to not go out there and not watch them play. It’s the right of the owners to go out there and say, ‘If that’s the way that you’re going to go out there and disrespect your country you’re not going to be a member of this team.'”
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