In response to athletes kneeling during the national anthem, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin may have just outdone Donald Trump on the offensive scale.

During an interview with Martha Raddatz on ABC News’ “This Week,” Secretary Mnuchin was asked about President Trump’s recent “son of a bitch” insult directed at NFL players who choose to kneel during the national anthem. Mnuchin didn’t flinch at the question, and defended Trump’s remarks by saying NFL players shouldn’t be able to express their constitutional rights on the field.

“I think what the president is saying is that the owners should have a rule that players should have to stand and respect for[sic] the national anthem,” Mnuchin said. “This isn’t about Democrats. It’s not about Republicans. It’s not about race. It’s not about free speech. [Players] can do free speech on their own time.”

While Raddatz didn’t ask for specific clarification on what he meant, It’s worth noting that Mnuchin’s comment suggests that when NFL players are on the field, their constitutional rights should be withheld by team owners. This begs the question that if ordinary citizens in the stadium are free to kneel during the anthem if they wish, but NFL players aren’t, is it because NFL players are property of team owners?

Watch Mnuchin’s response below:

President Trump attracted universal condemnation from the sports world when he retracted his invitation for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors due to star point guard Stephen Curry making public statements about not attending protest of Trump’s policies. He also publicly insulted former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players who chose to kneel during the national anthem during a campaign speech in Alabama, suggesting team owners fire all players who demonstrate. As Grit Post recently reported, Trump’s suggestion to NFL team owners may have been a federal crime.

Even New England Patriots team owner Robert Kraft, who is close friends with President Trump, issued a public statement saying he was “deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the president.”

Other teams have also publicly condemned Trump’s remarks, including the San Francisco 49ers, the Buffalo Bills, the Denver Broncos, the Los Angeles Chargers, the Indianapolis Colts, the Miami Dolphins, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Atlanta Falcons, the New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Tennessee Titans.


Jordan Shaw is a New Jersey-based writer and commentator specializing in national and state government issues. When he’s not writing, you can find him volunteering in Camden, New Jersey, or hiking the Wissahickon Valley Park.

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