New York Congressman Pete King is the latest politician to insert himself into the controversy over the National Football League (NFL’s) new national anthem policy, comparing kneeling for the national anthem to giving the Nazi salute.
As Yahoo Sports reports, the Long Island Republican had some things to say about another New Yorker’s response to the controversy. Earlier this week, it was reported that Jets owner Christopher Johnson would pay the fine for any Jets player who was fined for not standing for the anthem, as required by the NFL’s new policy.
“If somebody [on the Jets] takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organization, by me, not the players. I never want to put restrictions on the speech of our players.”
Pete King is having none of that. In a Saturday tweet, inserted himself into the controversy.
“Disgraceful that @nyjets owner will pay fines for players who kneel for National Anthem. Encouraging a movement premised on lies vs. police. Would he support all player protests? Would he pay fines of players giving Nazi salutes or spew racism? It’s time to say goodbye to Jets!”
Perhaps not surprisingly, the tweet drew criticism, according to The New York Daily News. In addition to the myriad of Twitter responses, which can most charitably be described as “unsupportive,” none other than the Twitter account of Dictionary.com used King’s tweet as an example of bad writing.
“Comparing apples and oranges is an idiom. It refers to comparing two unlike objects. E.g. NY Rep. Pete King compared #TakeAKnee to a Nazi salute.”
Reached by the Daily News, King refused to apologize or backtrack from his words. In fact, as writer Rich Schapiro described it, he doubled down.
“For those who say it’s a freedom of speech issue, where is that line drawn? Would (Johnson) say the same thing if the players were giving the Nazi salute, waving the Confederate flag, espousing the NRA?”
He also went on to suggest that the original reason for the original national anthem protest – way back in 2016, when Colin Kaepernick first took a knee in protest of police brutality – is flawed.
“The statistics show that African-Americans are no more likely to be shot by police than whites. And just because police shoot them doesn’t mean it’s wrong.”
Pete King is not the first politician to insert himself into the national anthem controversy. Donald Trump has been criticizing kneeling players for months, at one point even saying that “any son of a b***h” who doesn’t stand for the anthem should be fired. Similarly, Vice President Mike Pence famously got up and left a football game after observing some players kneeling for the anthem.