Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottGOP senators unveil bill to expand 'opportunity zone' reporting requirements McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug bill Senate passes bipartisan bill to permanently fund historically black colleges MORE (R-S.C.) on Thursday criticized NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others who have chosen to take a knee during the national anthem.

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"Our American flag is the greatest representation of what it means — it is the symbol of hope and opportunity for all of us," Scott said during an interview on "Fox & Friends."

"The fact that we have problems never gives you permission to disrespect our flag."

Kaepernick has refused to stand during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against African-Americans.

His action has sparked criticism but has also inspired other athletes to similarly take a knee or participate in other forms of protest during the anthem.

Scott said people should never find themselves in a situation where the flag is "antithetical to freedom."

"The flag flies for freedom," Scott said. "And the fact that some of us have to work to make sure that all of us experience our freedom means that we've made progress.

"Because this country is the beacon of life for all of mankind and anyone that stands up or refuses to stand, I think you're making a drastic mistake and you're bringing the focus to you and not to the underlying issue."