MINNEAPOLIS – Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is calling for boycott of the National Football League (NFL) over a new policy requiring players to stand for the national anthem.
Ellison tweeted this weekend that he will not be watching any NFL games this season because of the league’s new policy prohibiting protesting during the national anthem. Ellison called the decision “cowardly” and “idiotic,” adding the hashtag “Boycott NFL.”
Friends who know me, know that I love football. But I won’t be watching this NFL season because of the unfair cowardly and idiotic kneeling ban. #BoycottNFL
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) May 27, 2018
Controversy has surrounded the NFL since 2016 when Colin Kaepernick, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, began kneeling during the national anthem. Since then, more players have joined in the protest, sparking national outrage. During the 2017-2018 season, the NFL has faced declining viewership and has been labeled one of the most divisive brands in the country.
Despite initially seeming to side with the anthem protesters, the NFL is now changing its rules to prohibit kneeling during the national anthem. The league’s new policy requires players to be “respectful” and stand for the “Star Spangled Banner” if they are on the field. Players who do not wish to stand for the national anthem must remain in the locker room or will face a fine.
President Donald Trump has been a vocal critic of the NFL’s handling of the anthem protests. In an interview on Fox & Friends last week, Trump indicated he believes the new policy is a step in the right direction.
“I think that’s good. I don’t think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still, I think it’s good,” Trump said. “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem.”