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National anthem not ‘proper venue’ for activism, Ducey says

The Dallas Cowboys take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Dallas Cowboys take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Gov. Doug Ducey added his voice Tuesday to those of politicians like President Trump in criticizing athletes who “take a knee” during the Star-Spangled Banner.

“I think that during the national anthem you should stand up, pay respect and reflect over those that have sacrificed for this country,” the governor said. “I don’t think the anthem is a time for activism.”

The comments come as what started as a lone protest by Colin Kaepernick as a protests against racial injustice has spread to other National Football League players.

It has only accelerated since the president’s own attacks on those who kneel during the anthem, suggesting they be suspended or fired. And Trump has doubled down, saying that team owners who see a player kneeling should say they want to “get that son of a bitch off the field right now.”

The result has been teams like the Dallas Cowboys, prior to Monday’s night’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, kneeling ahead of the anthem and then standing arm-in-arm in a show of solidarity following the president’s comments.

By contrast, the Cardinals players, coaches and owner Michael Bidwill only linked arms.

“I was happy to see the Arizona Cardinals stood during this,” the governor said. “That’s what I think the anthem’s purpose is for.”

Ducey did not dispute that there are many black players — and many individuals of all races — who believe that there is racism in the country. But he said kneeling during the anthem is not the way to draw attention to the issue.

“I think there is a lot of attention on those subjects already,” the governor said.

“I think many of these athletes have a tremendous platform and of course they have a First Amendment right in which they can use that platform,” he continued. “But I don’t think the playing of a national anthem, our national anthem, before these sporting events is the proper venue.”

Still, Ducey conceded, “I know there are differing opinions.”


  1. “Proper venue”? What would that be? One that doesn’t offend anyone? One that doesn’t invade something as precious as football? It seems to be exactly the right venue, if the goal is to get people to pay attention. As a combat veteran, I don’t like to see anyone disrespect the flag or the anthem. In fact I hate it and become angry. Then I remember that jails are full of Black people; that Republican vote-suppression efforts are aimed at Black people; that Black people will suffer more at the loss of public education; that Black people are being killed by police, and I realize that until I’ve done all I can to fight racism, I have to put up with protests like these. It’s part of living in America.

  2. Arizona is not the proper venue for this Charlatan arsehole, Gov. Ducey to try and screw over while claiming to govern.
    What I hear him saying, is NOTHING. No mention of the reason for the protest. Racial Police brutality. Ducey is as much of a bigot as our fascist president, Trump.

  3. America is not all red, white, and blue. Racism must end by what ever means is necessary. These players picked the perfect time. It got our attention. We must stand for what is right and seek justice no matter what our racist governor and president say. They don’t run this country. We do and we will. We made America great by having a Bill of Rights and a Constitution. It is time for this childish president and Ducey to stepped down so they can go play golf and kneel for the devil. Irene

  4. Football players kneeling in protest of racism and unlawful shooting of Blacks is condemned as offensive by Governor Ducey, but Arizona government placement of memorials honoring proponents of racism and slavery on public property is okay by the inconsistent governor. Ducey, your double standard reflects both a corroded moral compass and hypocrisy on the social gospel of your professed Catholic affiliation. How shameful and revealing.

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