By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore announced that he supports President Donald J. Trump (R) and Vice President Mike Pence (R) in asking that all Americans respect our flag and country during the playing of the national anthem.
Former Chief Justice Moore made the statement in light of the recent refusal of NFL players to stand in respect for the national anthem, our flag and our country. “As a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran, I know what it means to stand for our flag, defend our country and advance the freedoms America represents around the world,” Moore said.
“Kneeling during our national anthem not only demonstrates a lack of patriotism for our Country but a disrespect for the rule of law. Title 36 of the United States Code, Section 301 states that all persons present during the National Anthem ‘should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart’,” he stated.
“I fully support President Trump and Vice President Pence in asking all Americans to stand for our flag during the playing of our National Anthem out of respect for our laws and all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our Country,” Moore said.
Many agree with President Trump and Judge Moore.
“Millions of brave men and women have fought, bled, and died on foreign battlefields across the globe in order to defend our nation and the symbols that define it. In my opinion, the NFL players’ actions are one step away from burning an American flag on the 50-yard line, and the commissioner, team owners, and coaches need to do what Coach Bryant and Coach Starr would have done by demanding an end to the on-going sideline shenanigans immediately,” State Rep. Rich Wingo, R-Tuscaloosa, wrote recently. Wingo is a former linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. He also played for the University of Alabama, then coached by Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Former San Francisco 49er quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, started the protests to highlight what he claimed were injustices being committed against black people. Kaepernick further enflamed the situation by wearing socks with cartoons depicting the police as pigs, ostensibly to draw attention to his belief that police are too harsh on blacks. Kaepernick’s protests were joined by dozens of other athletes in the 2016 season. San Francisco replaced Kaepernick with Brian Hoyer in the off-season, and Kaepernick has not been signed by a team to this point in the 2017 season, even as a backup or scout team quarterback. A few players, most notably Oakland Raiders running back, Marshawn Lynch, kept protesting.
On Friday, September 22, President Trump came to Alabama for an event in Huntsville for the doomed Luther Strange campaign and told the crowd at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b**** off the field, right now. Out. He’s fired! He’s fired!”
The comment enflamed the situation in the NFL and many more players, in some cases entire teams, protested the following week.
On Sunday, October 8, VP Pence was at an Indianapolis Colts home game and then left the event because some San Francisco 49er players knelt during the anthem.
NFL attendance and TV ratings are considerably off what they were in the 2015 season before all of this began. Many Americans say that they don’t want politics intruding on their football viewing habits.
According to Fox News on Monday, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager, Jerry Jones, said that, “If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play. OK? Understand? If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won’t play. Period.”
ESPN host, Jamele Hill, then called for a national boycott of every company that sponsors the Dallas Cowboys. ESPN suspended her for two weeks in response.
On Tuesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter asking all 32 teams to end the anthem protests and stand for the playing of the national anthem. The NFL is reportedly considering a policy, similar to one already in place in the NBA, requiring that players stand during the anthem.
The NFL Player’s Association has announced that it will sue under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement if the league or one of the teams disciplines a player for kneeling during the anthem.
“Had the NFL chosen to enforce its own operations manual that requires players to respect the National Anthem by being on the field, standing and otherwise showing respect, the continuing protest would cease. The players have no First Amendment right to protest. The NFL has refused to allow players to wear decals or armbands or engage in other protests or show of support without prior approval. If the NFL or the football teams want to stop the protests, they have the right to do so,” Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in a statement.
Judge Moore faces former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones (D) in the special election on Dec. 12, 2017.