McCain defends NFL protests: 'That's their right'
© Greg Nash

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Health Care: HHS chief refuses to testify on family separations | Grassley to test GOP on lowering drug prices | PhRMA spends record on lobbying in 2018 Will a Democratic woman break the glass ceiling in 2020? Republican state lawmaker introduces bill that would tax porn to fund Trump's border wall MORE (R-Ariz.) affirmed on Tuesday the right of NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem at football games.

"That's their right to do what they want to do as citizens," McCain told TMZ

McCain's comments come after the Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones knelt before the national anthem at a Monday night game against the Arizona Cardinals, but later stood during the anthem's performance.  

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"I've always hated the Dallas Cowboys, and I will continue to do so," joked the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, an ardent Cardinals fan. 

Several NFL teams have taken a knee during performances of the national anthem during games this week in protest of Trump's incendiary comments pushing for team owners to fire players who don't stand.  

On Tuesday, Trump called for the NFL to institute a formal rule against the protest during the anthem on the field, saying that "The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations."