With the next NFL season just months away – provided it can exist in the age of coronavirus – Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson said that he will be working with President Trump on the issue of athletes kneeling for the National Anthem.
Speaking on “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” Carson said the kneelers are mostly just protesting police brutality in response to the death of George Floyd and do not mean to disrespect the American flag.
“A lot of people are under the impression that they’re kneeling because they don’t respect our national anthem or they don’t respect the flag or what it stands for,” Carson said, as reported by Fox News. “And in fact, I don’t think that’s the reason that most of them are kneeling. I think most of them are kneeling because you know, they want to protest some brutality in the police forces. They need to make that very clear.”
“And of course, now that that has been brought to national attention, I’m not sure if it needs to continue,” he added.
Regarding President Trump’s anger in response to the kneelers, Carson said that the president has not been directing much animosity toward them lately.
“Well, I don’t think he has manifested as much animosity in that region lately. And I think we just continue to work with him. He’ll get there,” said Carson.
Coaches and athletes in various sports have already pledged to kneel for the National Anthem. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also apologized to athletes for not listening earlier while encouraging them to protest peacefully.
“It has been a difficult time for our country, in particular black people in our country,” Goodell said in a statement. “First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality.”
“We, the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” he continued. “We, the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League believe black lives matter. I personally protest with you, and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.”
Last week, the U.S. Soccer Federation repealed the league’s ban on kneeling for the National Anthem and also apologized for not listening to their players’ experiences.
“We have not done enough to listen – especially to our players – to understand and acknowledge the very real and meaningful experiences of Black and other minority communities in our country,” the organization said. “We apologize to our players – especially our Black players – staff, fans, and all who support eradicating racism. Sports are a powerful platform for good, and we have not used our platform as effectively as we should have. We can do more on these specific issues and we will.”
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