Sessions: NFL should require players to stand during anthem

Sessions: NFL should require players to stand during anthem
© Getty

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports McCabe: Trump's 'relentless attack' on FBI prompted memoir Trump: 'Disgraced' McCabe, Rosenstein look like they were planning 'very illegal act' MORE on Wednesday doubled down on his defense of President Trump's remarks about NFL players, saying that NFL owners should ban protests during the national anthem.


"I think people should stand. I think it should be a formal rule of the league," Sessions said during an interview on "Fox and Friends" on Wednesday. "They’ll have to make that decision but should be able to say to the players, if you’re on our field and play our game paid by us, you should respect the flag and the national anthem.”

Sessions's comments come just a day after he accused NFL players who protest before games of "demeaning" the flag by not standing and saluting during the anthem.

"They haven’t thought it through," Sessions said. "They haven’t realized that what they’re doing is actually demeaning the country, not some politician they disagree with, not some issue that they feel strongly about."

"How is that the right way to express such a view?" he added.

Trump's attorney general has consistently defended the president after Trump on Friday remarked that players who protest the national anthem should be dragged off the field and fired by team owners during a fiery campaign rally in Alabama.

"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 Friday.

Sessions on Wednesday rejected criticism that Trump's remarks chilled free speech in the U.S., arguing that the president has First Amendment rights just like any citizen.

"The president of the United States has free speech. He believes, and I believe, that people should take a moment before a football game and stand [when] the national anthem is played. What’s wrong with that?" Sessions said on Wednesday.