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Charlie Daniels Talks NFL National Anthem Protests: ‘I Don’t Understand It’

Charlie Daniels Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit
Jason Davis, Getty Images

Although he understands that those protesting by kneeling during the National Anthem have the right to do so, Charlie Daniels feels that doing so is disrespectful to the United States and the country’s servicemembers. In an interview with the Big D & Bubba radio show, Daniels sounds off about the recent protests within the NFL.

Daniels tells Big D & Bubba that he’s spoken to military veterans who are insulted by the weekly protests by NFL players. He says those participating are choosing the wrong avenue to show their disapproval.

“You take a bunch of guys who make … a million dollars a year that can’t find something good about this country to celebrate when they’re playing the National Anthem? I don’t understand it,” Daniels says (quote via Taste of Country). “People say they have a right to do it — I know they have a right to do it. They also got a right to do a lot of things they never would dream of doing.”

In his interview on Big D & Bubba, Daniels says he hopes that football fans who are angered by players’ protests will continue to voice their displeasure. He feels that, if enough fans counter-protest by boycotting the NFL, the players’ protests will stop.

“It’s all about the money,” Daniels says. “As soon as it starts hitting their bottom line in a big enough way, you’ll see a big change. You’ll see policy changes. You’ll see something done about this.”

Daniels, a Tennessee Titans season ticket holder, adds that he “love[s] the Titans” but “love[s] America more.” He isn’t willing to support a protesting team.

“I will not stand by and see America insulted and belittled,” he says.

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During Sunday’s NFL games, numerous players and teams — including the Titans — performed gestures of protest as “The Star-Spangled Banner” was sung prior to kickoff. They were responding to comments by President Donald Trump, made on Friday (Sept. 22) at a campaign rally for Alabama Sen. Luther Strange and on Twitter on Saturday (Sept. 23), about players such as former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick choosing to kneel during the National Anthem in order to protest racial inequality in the United States.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, ‘Get that son of a b—h off the field right now. Out, you’re fired!’” Trump said during the event on Friday. On Saturday, via Twitter, he added, “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”

On Twitter and during a Sunday press conference, Trump continued to defend his statements. A number of NFL teams have released statements condemning Trump’s comments or otherwise shown their disapproval for what he said; the Titans and their Sunday opponents, the Seattle Seahawks, chose to remain in the locker room as Meghan Linsey sang the National Anthem before the game. Linsey herself is facing backlash for kneeling after finishing her performance.

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