While he made it clear that he believes “people have a right to express themselves,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Thursday that he thinks the protests during the national anthem at football games are “misguided.”
Ryan wouldn’t comment on President Donald Trump’s remarks about the protests because he said he hadn’t seen all of Trump’s statements. But Ryan defended Trump’s stance that the protests are seen as disrespectful because they involves the American flag and the national anthem.
“What I don’t think people see from the get-go is when you do it on the flag and the anthem, it looks like you’re protesting against the ideals of America, the patriotism, the people who put their lives on the line, given their life for the country,” he said to reporters Thursday. “So I just don’t think — I think it’s misguided to protest the anthem and the flag.”
He said the protests don’t translate well because people see it as disrespectful to the country, rather than a “political issue.”
“That’s the point I think some people are missing in this debate,” he said.
Ryan’s home state football team, the Green Bay Packers, are planning to stand during the anthem Thursday night and lock arms. The team has invited fans to do the same as a sign of unity, according to The Green Bay Press Gazette.
On Sunday, as many teams across the NFL showed some sign of protest during the anthem, most of the Packers players locked arms and stood during the anthem and three sat.