- Jennifer Stewart/Getty
While President Donald Trump has continued to criticize NFL players who chose to protest the national anthem during Sunday’s slate of games, NBC Sports broadcaster Bob Costas has an entirely different message.
“Patriotism comes in many forms,” Costas said on CNN’s “New Day” on Monday morning. “And what has happened is that it’s been conflated with a kind of bumper-sticker flag waving and with the military only, so that people cannot see that in his own way, Colin Kaepernick, however imperfectly, is doing a patriotic thing, and so too are some of these other players.”
National anthem demonstrations have been a topic of interest since the first time Kaepernick refused to stand during a 2016 preseason game in protest of racial inequality, but Trump’s recent comments have exacerbated the controversy.
At a Friday rally in Alabama, the president said: “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!'”
Since then, many prominent figures have defended the protestors, but as a 30-year industry veteran who’s called some of the biggest events in sports, Costas’ words carry special weight. On “New Day,” he stressed that much of the anger over the protests stems from a refusal to view the flag as a symbol of civilian life in America.
“This is no disrespect to the military – it’s a huge part of the narrative – but Martin Luther King was a patriot,” he said. “Susan B. Anthony was a patriot. Dissidents are patriots. Schoolteachers and social workers are patriots.”
Costas cited New York Yankees home games as an example. Each game, the Yankees honor a military guest by playing “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch, a practice Costas believes contributes to the perception that the American flag is emblematic of the armed forces only.
“I have no problem with that. I stand every time I’m in the ballpark, no matter what it is – I stand,” Costas said. “And I certainly respect the military person they bring out there. But there’s never a schoolteacher. There’s never a social worker.”
You can watch Costas’ comments below:
Bob Costas NAILED this. Patriotism comes in many forms, but it's been conflated w/ bumper sticker flag waving & "military only." ???? pic.twitter.com/2R5z00btfU
— Josh Sánchez (@jnsanchez) September 25, 2017