Jeff Sessions said Wednesday that free speech was under attack in America, but moments later he then condemned the protests taking place during the NFL's pregame national anthems.
“We have drifted way too far in controlling speech,” Sessions said Wednesday on “Fox & Friends, HuffPost reported. ” “The Department of Justice has a duty to defend people’s civil rights.”
Not even a minute later, Sessions rebuked the black athletes for protesting police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.
“They can make their protests any other place,” Sessions said. “If the owners allow them, they can speak out, I guess, on the field. But as a matter of propriety, of love of country and decency, you should stand when the national anthem is played.”
“No matter what you think of Hillary Clinton or President Trump, you should stand when the national anthem is played,” Sessions added. ”[The NFL] should be able to say to the players, ‘If you are on our field, in our game, paid by us, you should respect the flag and the national anthem.’”
President Donald Trump, who won over Republican voters for his anti-politically correct campaign, inflamed the debate last week in a campaign speech that referenced the NFL protests. Trump said he'd prefer that NFL owners "fired" players for "disrespecting" the flag.
Without a hint of irony, Sessions defended Trump's right to make this pronouncement following a speech at Georgetown Law.
“The president has free speech rights, too,” Sessions said Tuesday. “In this great land, the government does not tell you what to think or what to say.”