Megyn Kelly, on day two of her new NBC show, “Megyn Kelly Today,” perfectly summarized the controversy over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, a move that President Donald Trump said should be a fire-able offense.
Trump recently said that he respects the First Amendment and free speech, but the president’s appreciation for the bedrock of America apparently does not extend to those he disagrees with. Kelly, who has also been on the receiving end of Trump’s insults, voiced her support for the First Amendment on Tuesday — but without such a caveat.
“I am a lover of the First Amendment,” Kelly said Tuesday, “and I think in a way this whole situation underscores some of the beauty of our country.”
The newest addition to NBC’s “Today” went on to say that she believes “those players have every right to take a knee,” but added that “those who object to it have every right to say they object.”
Kelly could not have explained this better. Free speech isn’t about forcing people to stand during the national anthem. NFL players, and all Americans for that matter, should feel that this country is so great for all people that they want to stand.
While I would not personally kneel during the national anthem, I recognize that others have the right to do so. Forcing anyone to stand for something isn’t freedom. In fact, it’s the opposite.
These players are not protesting the flag. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem, made it clear at the time that he was protesting what he sees as racial injustice in America. Others might not agree that there is racial injustice, but again, it’s Kaepernick’s right to have his own opinions, and to protest what he believes needs changing.
I know that this argument might not be popular among my fellow conservatives and libertarians. However, U.S. military service members did not fight only for the freedom of some Americans. They fought for the rights of all Americans. Like it or not, that includes NFL players.
As Kelly correctly concluded in her response to the controversy on Tuesday, “the answer to speech we do not like is not less speech, it’s more speech.”
It’s a shame that our own president doesn’t seem to understand that basic American principle. Perhaps, like he has on so many other issues, Trump will forget he ever called NFL players who kneel during the anthem “sons of b***hes” and recognize the truth of the matter.
I’m not holding my breath.