Former college football coach Lou Holtz made his NFL protest position clear on Fox and Friends, saying, “It’s a matter of choice. You choose to kneel for the National Anthem, you’re choosing not to play.”
Lou Holtz: "Let's look at what you've accomplished by kneeling down during the national anthem: You're hurting the sport, you're hurting the future, you're hurting the revenue for other people coming up." https://t.co/fWowPSemvs pic.twitter.com/hJ4adA6KHO
— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 21, 2018
Everything the NFL does on [the National Anthem] is a reaction. The player, I think, are very emotionally involved. One of the main problems we have, I think, is social media. People get on Twitter and Facebook and say ‘hey, you need to kneel for the National Anthem, etc.
I’ve been involved in a lot of football games. I’ve never attended a football game where they didn’t have the National Anthem before the game. It’s part of the sport. And let’s remember this: Years ago these athletes made $50,000 a year. Now they make multi-millions because the NFL became very popular. It surpassed Major League baseball as the number one sport. Now all of the sudden, you are really hurting the customer.
Holtz joined President Donald Trump in criticizing the National Football League’s pause on their new National Anthem rules, including fines and penalties for players refusing to stand.
The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again – can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2018
Holtz went onto discuss how he would handle this National Anthem controversy if he were the commissioner.
It’s a matter of choice. You choose to kneel for the National Anthem, you’re choosing not to play. It’s that simple. It’s your choice. Now, I’m involved with [Housing and Urban Development] to try and get young people to make good choices and it’s difficult to get athletes involved in this because they have so many other things.
I don’t know why they’re kneeling, but I will say this to every athlete that may be listening. What have you accomplished by kneeling for the National Anthem except cause the fan base to go down, the TV viewing audience to go down, the revenue to go down? Now you haven’t accomplished anything. Now let’s look at what you’ve accomplished by kneeling down during the National Anthem: You’re hurting the sport, you’re hurting the future, you’re hurting the revenue for other people coming up.
The National Anthem protest sprang out of the various anti-police brutality movements, including Black Lives Matter. According to Holtz, 35 police officers died in 2017 and already in 2018, 31 police officers have died while working.
“We have a problem,” said Holtz, “and kneeling on the National Anthem does not help it at all.”