Former NFL great Burgess Owens believes NFL players who protest the national anthem are sowing division and despair.
What did he say?
Speaking on "Fox & Friends" over the weekend, the former Oakland Raiders and New York Jets safety made it clear what he thinks of the athletes who continue to kneel during the national anthem. He said:
Let me tell you about our responsibility is, and every generation has done this throughout the history of our country, is to give our kids more hope than we had. My parents' generation, my grandparents' generation succeeded [in sowing hope]. That's how they fought racism.
We have the greatest country and the most freedom today, and we have more people, particularly black Americans, who have less hope and that's because they have very successful men telling them that they can do it but that black Americans can't do it.
It's really time for us to stand up as men and say: 'Listen guys, this country gives us everything we want and if I did it, you can do it too.' And stop the whole thing ... if you wanna have demonstrations, demonstrate someplace else, but not against our flag that gives us the freedom to be the greatest people in the history of mankind.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 24, 2017
It's not the first time he's spoken out
Owens, a self-described conservative, has previously spoken out against the protests and other recent social justice movements, like Black Lives Matter.
What’s happening here is actually a purposeful process to divide us. Those who like to call everybody as racists, keep in mind, they’re the racists and they will continue to divide us with their negative focus. … We win this thing together. That’s what America is all about. … Those are the same people who could care less about the black people killed in Chicago
He even recently wrote an op-ed for Fox News on the meaning of the flag and why he believes the NFL players' protest is disrespectful to America.
When did the protests begin?
The kneeling protests began last year after former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during a preseason game to protest police brutality and systemic racism in the U.S.
Kaepernick previously played for the San Francisco 49ers, but remains unsigned in the 2017 regular season. Many of his supporters say he has been blackballed by NFL owners for bringing negative coverage to the sport.