John Lewis: NFL players kneeling ‘are following a long tradition’
Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) shared his support for NFL players kneeling during the national anthem in a tweet Monday, sharing a photo of himself kneeling during a protest in 1962.
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) September 25, 2017
The photo Lewis shared depicts him and other demonstrators kneeling at a pool in Cairo, Ill., in 1962 in protest of it not allowing black people to swim.
Players across the NFL knelt and locked arms during the playing of the national anthem this weekend in response to President Trump’s criticism of athletes who don’t stand for the anthem.
“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 a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Sen. Luther Strange (R) on Friday.
Trump’s comments brought a wave of backlash from NFL players, coaches and executives over the weekend, and the White House on Monday sought to defend Trump’s continued tweets aimed at the NFL.
At least one other lawmaker also showed their support for NFL players following Trump’s attacks. Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Texas) knelt on the House floor Monday night in solidarity with players.
“I kneel in honor of them. I kneel in front of the flag and on this floor,” Jackson Lee declared.
“I kneel in honor of the First Amendment. I kneel because the flag is a symbol for freedom. I kneel because I’m going to stand against racism. I kneel because I will stand with those young men and I’ll stand with our soldiers. And I’ll stand with America, because I kneel,” she said.