Published: Friday, September 29, 2017 @ 9:48 PM
By: JuliaKate E. Culpepper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
— Former NFL star Herschel Walker says that, if he were commissioner, he would tell players to stand during the playing of the national anthem and he would protest beside them off the field.
In a Friday interview with TMZ Sports, Walker said he wasn’t trying to minimize the issues of race or police brutality, but the NFL is a business and needs to be treated as such.
“If you want to protest, protest off the job,” Walker said. “Where was everyone before the season started? I didn’t see anyone protesting in front of the White House, protesting in front of Congress or protesting in front of police officers. Why did we wait until football season started then we start this again?
“If you got to be behind it, you got to be behind it all the way.”
Such protests during the national anthem began to gain attention when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting, then kneeling, during the anthem at preseason NFL games.
Walker, who has been a Trump supporter, said after examples like Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett being wrongfully profiled and handcuffed by Las Vegas police, the country needs to be responsible.
“Everyone needs to stand. Everyone needs to be respectful,” Walker said. “And then what I’d do is, ‘Guys, during the offseason, if you want to go walk the picket line in front of Congress, I will be right there with you, because black lives do matter.”
The former Heisman Trophy winner said it’s time for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to get involved and make a league-wide rule outlawing protesting on the field and taking a knee during the national anthem. He also said that the blame can not be placed on Trump.
“The way he says things ... sometimes I disagree with him, but he’s still my leader,” he said.