Tennessee senator compares players kneeling during anthem to middle finger to the flag
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – A Tennessee state senator has said that athletes kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful to the U.S. flag.
State Sen. Jon Lundberg of Bristol made the analogy Wednesday during a budget hearing for East Tennessee State, according to WJHL.
“Frankly, sir, in my mind, putting that knee down gave the bird to our flag, sir. And I don’t see that difference. Tell me what that difference is,” Lundberg said during the hearing.
The East Tennessee State men’s basketball team’s kneeled during the anthem ahead of its February 15 game against Chattanooga.
ETSU president Brian Nolan said that he hopes to turn the players’ outspokenness into an opportunity for learning.
“I would have ensured that we would have spoken with the students in detail, provided the opportunity for our students to meet with veterans, provided the opportunity for our students to dialogue and have conversations about issues that were on their minds,” he said. “And I’m committed to having those conversations moving forward.”