Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said Wednesday that he is starting to get “nervous” that President Donald Trump is able to dictate what NFL players can and cannot do, and said orders like that should come directly from league owners.
“I am very uncomfortable with the president of the United States being able to dictate the behavior of anybody. That’s not where this should be coming from,” Limbaugh said. “His motives are pure, don’t misunderstand. But I don’t think that it is useful or helpful for any employee anywhere to be forced to do something because the government says they must.”
“That scares the hell out of me,” Limbaugh added. “The commissioner should be demanding this. Not the president. We don’t want the president being able to demand anybody that he’s unhappy with … behave in a way that he requires. That’s scary to me, even if the president is somebody I happen to like.”
NFL teams only began requiring players to remain on the field for the national anthem in 2009, after former President Barack Obama instructed his Department of Defense to pay teams hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars to help boost recruitment. Before 2009, teams had the option of waiting in the locker room.
Limbaugh said owners should release concise rules and regulations detailing acceptable protocol, but they should do so of their own accord, not because the White House is pressuring them.
“This is a slippery slope to me, and it hit me awhile ago and crystallized last night. Trump is in the right, don’t misunderstand, but no president should have dictatorial power over individual behavior,” he said. “It’s up to the owners to come up with a system of punishment if their employees violate company policy. Like it is in any other business.”
“What he says about this is absolutely right on the money, but it ought not be a presidential dictate,” Limbaugh concluded.
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