An NFL player is slamming the league’s new rule preventing players from kneeling during the national anthem, saying “freedom of speech” no longer exists for football players.
“Freedom of speech does not exist for NFL players now, we get fined for protesting for something we believe in, FINE ME!!!!” Dawuane Smoot tweeted Wednesday. “You can’t change my opinion, and can’t stop my protest I have a right as an American to protest when I feel there is injustice in this country.”
Freedom of speech does not exist for NFL players now, we get fined for protesting for something we believe in, FINE ME!!!! You can’t change my opinion, and can’t stop my protest I have a right as an American to protest when I feel there is injustice in this country.— Dawuane Smoot (@Bigsmoot_94) May 23, 2018
The Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end was responding to a new policy that seeks to outlaw kneeling during the performance of the national anthem at games.
The NFL unanimously approved the measure on Wednesday, requiring players on the field to stand or stay in the locker room.
Teams whose players don’t comply will face fines.
The kneeling protests were first launched by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in response to police brutality and the treatment of minorities.
President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE hailed the NFL's new rule and suggested Thursday that those who can’t “stand proudly” during the national anthem “shouldn’t be in the country.”
Trump previously called on NFL owners to fire protesting players.
"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 in 2017.
Some players are reportedly already discussing how they can skirt the rule with new forms of protest.