“Does anyone honestly believe…”
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former presidential candidate Ben Carson’s Sunday Facebook post addressing the raging controversy surrounding NFL players kneeling during the national anthem lit up social media.
In a speech Friday during a rally in Alabama, President Donald Trump drew fresh attention to the controversy by deriding NFL players who he said disrespect the American flag by kneeling during the national anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now. Out. He’s fired! He’s fired’” Trump said.
Following Trump’s remarks, teams, players and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded with statements defending players’ right to kneel.
Goodell contended that Trump’s comments were “divisive” and demonstrated an “unfortunate lack of respect” for the NFL and its players.
But Carson added another perspective in his Facebook post on Sunday, lamenting that NFL Sundays used to “represent a time of fun, games and unity” that has now been compromised by protests during the national anthem.
Here we are at another NFL Sunday,” Carson wrote. “That used to represent a time of fun, games and unity. I hope we can return to that situation soon.”
Carson noted that one of the reasons he believes the national anthem is played prior to sports contests is to “remind us that even though we’re rooting for different sports teams, we are united as a country.”
Carson said everyone has the right to express themselves, but argued that there is a proper “time and place for everything.”
“Last week I saw a story about pre-adolescent players being drawn into the ‘take a knee’ protests,” Carson wrote. “Does anyone honestly believe that encouraging even our youth to believe they are victims of our society will actually help us come together?”
Carson said he believes that many athletes “actually think they are making things better” by protesting.
“We would encourage them and all Americans to utilize their influence to truly draw people together and not be manipulated into doing the opposite under the guise of unity,” he added.
Carson’s post has gone viral, receiving more than 126,000 likes, nearly 49,000 shares and over 7,000 comments since Sunday morning.
Many commenters expressed their agreement with Carson’s sentiments.
“Ben you are a voice of reason in unreasonable times. Don’t know how we got to this place, I am truly ashamed,” one user wrote.
“Well said Dr. Carson. If only people would listen to common sense like yours this country could become great again. It is truly sad to see young children drawn into this foolishness,” another said.
Some said the anthem protests have caused them to stop following the NFL.
One commenter wrote, “Boycotting means not watching, not attending, not buying merchandise and sticking to our guns. I believe if enough people do this and they will see it in their pocketbooks! They’ll get the picture, but we can’t cave!”
“We use to love football Sunday but it has become a ‘political football’ and when enough people quit watching and these ridiculous salaries disappear, it will be a rude awakening to what most people deal with everyday,” another added.