Fox’s Shep Smith: Protesting NFL players aren’t attacking the flag

Fox News’s Shepherd Smith on Monday argued President Trump’s criticisms of the NFL are a “play to his base,” noting the NFL players who participate in protests are not demonstrating against the national anthem itself.

“Of course they’re not protesting the national anthem. That’s not what they’re doing and we’re complicit,” Smith said during his Monday show.

Smith’s remarks come after Trump last week suggested NFL owners fire players who choose to kneel, rather than stand, during the national anthem in protest of racial inequity in the U.S.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He is fired,' " Trump said at an Alabama rally Friday.

The comments, which the president doubled down on over the weekend, caused widespread protests and displays of solidarity at football games across the country on Sunday. 

Smith on Monday argued Trump’s attack on the NFL could be a way to distract from issues the administration is currently faced with, including struggling health-care legislation and North Korea’s ongoing aggression.

“It’s very clear that for his base, this is the red meat of all red meat. Because they’re able to reframe this. They’re able to say, ‘Oh, they’re attacking the national anthem, they’re attacking the troops, they’re attacking the flag,’ ” Smith said. 

“None of which they’re doing. They’re not doing any of that. They’re upset about racial injustice in the country and they’re upset about the things that the president has said, and yet he’s able to turn it around for his base. Isn’t this all a play to his base, and could it possibly be so that they don’t notice there is no health care and North Korea’s the biggest mess since the Cold War?”