Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat Senate Candidate campaigning against Sen. Ted Cruz, has once again illustrated his disconnect with the majority of Texans he is campaigning to represent.
At an education town hall in Houston, O’Rourke was asked by one attendee if he found it disrespectful when some NFL players kneel during the national anthem before football games, saying that, because he came from a family of veterans, he found the act “incredibly frustrating.”
In response, O’Rourke bluntly rejected the idea, saying, “My short answer is no, I don’t think it’s disrespectful.”
O’Rourke then compared the kneeling NFL players to civil rights icons Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, explaining that the players were kneeling, “To point out black men, unarmed, black teenagers, black children are being killed at a frightening level right now, including by members of law enforcement, without accountability and without justice.”
Concluding his answer, he stated, “I can think of nothing more American” than the anthem protests.
The epidemic of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem started in 2016 when former San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick refused to stand, instead electing to sit down and, later, take a knee during the playing of The Star Spangled Banner at the start of NFL games. Kaepernick pointed to the mistreatment of black Americans as his justification for the protests.
The wave of protests hit a fever pitch during the 2017 football season, with players across the country choosing not to honor the flag during the opening ceremony.
This behavior caused NFL viewership to decline drastically last season, ultimately forcing the league to adopt rules curtailing the practice ahead of the 2018 season. NFL owners were spurred on in adopting the new rules by President Donald Trump. Under the new policy, teams that allow players to be disrespectful to the flag or anthem while on the field during pre-game will be fined by the league.
A recent poll conducted by the University of Texas showed that a plurality of Texans have an unfavorable view of the NFL. This negative opinion is widely attributed to the national anthem protests and related controversy.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott decried the protests after the rule change, saying, “I never protest during the anthem, and I don’t think that’s the time or the venue.”
O’Rourke, in contrast, finds himself on the opposite side of the Texans he is campaigning to represent. Once again he has illustrated that his far-left liberal values are much closer to Nancy Pelosi than the average Texas voter.