Former running back Jim Brown is known for being one of the first athletes to speak out about politics during his era. But he recently revealed that he is against NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
“I’ll never kneel and I will always respect the flag,” Brown told Tom Withers of the Associated Press before the HBO premiere of Hard Knocks.
Brown said he supported the players’ rights to kneel but not necessarily their mission to use the games to bring awareness to social issues such as racial inequality.
“Well, if you take the bottom line, what are we talking about? We’re talking about freedom to express one’s self, and if you don’t break any rules then you have that particular right,” Brown added.
“I am not going to denigrate my flag and I’m going to stand for the national anthem. I’m fighting with all of my strength to make it a better country, but I don’t think that’s the issue. Because what is the top side? Are you not going to stand up? This is our country, man.
“We work hard to make it better and that’s my attitude, so I don’t relate to this issue because it’s newsworthy because where are your superstars? And where are they at? Aren’t they making comments?”
Brown not only championed civil rights during his playing career, he became an activist in retirement.
“I’m going to give you the real deal: I’m an American,” Brown said in an interview with ThePostGame. “I don’t desecrate my flag and my national anthem. I’m not gonna do anything against the flag and national anthem. I’m going to work within those situations. But this is my country, and I’ll work out the problems, but I’ll do it in an intelligent manner.”
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