NFL players and other professional athletes should stand for the national anthem to show their respect for the Americans who make sacrifices to help keep the U.S. safe, secure, and prosperous, Sen. Pat Toomey told CNBC on Wednesday.
“They have every right to protest as they see fit. But I think it’s totally inappropriate. What they ought to do is show their respect for the people who helped secure the country that they have,” the Pennsylvania Republican said.
Asked his opinion about the polarizing player protests of taking a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games, Toomey said he believes “they ought to be standing,” siding with President Donald Trump who’s been tweeting since the weekend about the issue, saying players who don’t stand should be fired.
On Monday Night Football, the Cowboys, including owner Jerry Jones, knelt before the national anthem in solidarity with the hundreds of players who took a knee over the weekend. But when the anthem started, the players on Dallas and the Arizona Cardinals were standing arm in arm. Jones has been vocal in the past against protesting during the anthem.
Toomey said in a “Squawk Box” interview, “This country has offered so many millions of people so many wonderful opportunities; and quite especially, the players on the field who are multimillionaires because they’re really good at playing a game.”
Pennsylvania, Toomey’s state, is one of a handful of states that have two NFL franchises: the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers.