Former Jets quarterback Joe Namath appeared on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning and spoke out in favor of NFL players’ protests.
“Going back to what Colin Kaepernick initially did, it was to point out some injustice that’s being done to the black race,” Namath said, “some of these dash cams and shootings that were done to unarmed people. He was reaching out to try to get it more investigated. So that’s where this oppression thing comes in.”
Namath’s reference to oppression is a response to Mike Ditka’s assessment that there hasn’t been oppression in this country “in the last 100 years.” At the end of the segment, Namath also encouraged Ditka to “look up the definition of oppression.”
Namath also supports players’ decision to protest by kneeling because taking a knee is “a sign of respect,” though he added “we need more respect for the flag.”
While Namath may support the message behind the protest and the players’ method of expression, he believes NFL owners have the right to tell players where they are and aren’t allowed to protest.
“Ownership has ownership,” Namath explained. “If somebody starts walking through here carrying a sign, what are the powers that be at Fox going to say to you? ‘Excuse me. Go do that somewhere else. Don’t do it in the workplace.’”
Namath has been a semi-frequent guest on Fox News in recent months, pontificating on everything from conflict with North Korea to American relations with Russia. His foray into politics is a recent development, though. Aside from appearing on Richard Nixon’s list of enemies (for unknown reasons) Namath was more likely to weigh in on the Jets than the state of the nation. Asked on Fox Business in December 2015 for his 2016 election pick, Namath politely demurred.