On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave a speech at Georgetown University in which he said, “Freedom of thought and speech on the American campus are under attack.” On Wednesday, he went on Fox News and said he believes the NFL should restrict players’ freedom of thought and speech.
“In this great land, the government does not get to tell you what to think or what to say,” Sessions said in his speech on Tuesday. The government official then appeared on Fox & Friends Wednesday morning to tell NFL players what to do.
“I think people should stand [for the national anthem],” Sessions said. “I think it should be a formal rule of the league. They’ll have to make that decision but they should be able to say to the players, if you on our field and play our game paid by us, you should respect the flag and the national anthem.”
“They can make their protest any other place and if the owners allow them, I guess they can speak out on the field,” Sessions added.
Many NFL owners have endorsed their players’ protests, with some even joining in on the demonstrations themselves. Those owners also came out in opposition of Donald Trump’s comments Friday in Alabama in which he called NFL players “sons of b----es.”
After his speech Tuesday, Sessions defended Trump’s repeated attacks on the NFL, saying the president has “free speech rights, too,” while adding that the freedom of NFL players is “paramount under the Constitution, is protected and we have to protect it.”