Culture

Steven Mnuchin Slams NFL Players Who Take A Knee: ‘They Can Do Free Speech On Their Own Time’

After President Trump made derogatory comments about Colin Kaepernick and rescinded Steph Curry’s invitation to visit the White House (after Curry said he wouldn’t go), NFL players everywhere (and even one from the MLB) were bound to continue taking a knee during the national anthem to support their brethren this weekend.

Trump, of course, responded to criticism by increasing his attacks (even calling NFL games “boring”) while coaches and owners showed solidarity with players. And as the Jaguars and Ravens united for a massive anthem protest, the Sunday morning political talk shows couldn’t avoid the subject. On ABC’s This Week, Martha Radditz pressed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for an official administration response. Well, Mnuchin was not sympathetic to the cause and articulated his understanding of Trump’s position:

“The NFL has all types of rules … I think what the president is saying is that the owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem. This isn’t about Democrats. It’s not about Republicans. It’s not about race; it’s not about free speech. They can do free speech on their own time. This is about respect for the military and first responders and the country.”

Mnuchin later added how he believes that players should take their First Amendment rights “off the field,” and he’s not thrilled with (in his words) how the NFL is “picking and choosing” which rules to enforce.

This response feels a little rich, given that Mnuchin requested that his “own time” (i.e., his lavish wedding and European honeymoon) be partially funded by taxpayers in the form of a private yet. Yet he’s on board with taking free speech off the airwaves because — no doubt — it’s embarrassing for Trump that Kaepernick’s protests have gathered momentum while he’s Making America Great Again. Then again, if Trump wasn’t adding fuel to the fire, this situation not be as mortifying for the White House.

On Twitter, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) didn’t hesitate to point out the discrepancy between Mnuchin’s words and his actions: “Many people say you should fly private jets ‘on your own time’ with your own money.”

(Via ABC News)

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