Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) told Breitbart News on Wednesday that he thinks the NFL is not considering what fans think about the players protesting during the national anthem at games.
“I think what the NFL owners and players have underestimated is the reaction from the customer — the people that are paying their ticket prices,” Norman said, adding that a lot of the folks who attend games sacrifice to pay those high prices.
“I think you’re going to see the viewership decline,” Norman said. “I think you’re going to see the attendance decline.”
And the bottomline, Norman observed, is that honoring the flag and the national anthem is honoring the men and women who have paid the ultimate price to preserve freedom for all Americans, including NFL players.
“Everybody has a family member — a mother, father — and a lot of children without dads that died on the battlefield,” Norman said.
Norman said even his own football passion for his South Carolina Panthers could change if the team joins the “take a knee” protests.
“I respect [owner] Jerry Richardson — but if they start doing that — we’re done,” Norman said. “I’m not going to the games.”
So far, Richardson has issued a public statement saying that he doesn’t want politics injected into the NFL.
We are proud of the men we have on this football team,” Richardson said in a statement posted on the Panther’s Twitter account. “Our players have been active and impactful participants in making our community stronger. From the first time I stepped into an NFL locker room at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore in 1959, I have lived and seen the sport’s ability to bring people of all backgrounds together. Politicizing the game is damaging and takes the focus off the greatness of the game itself and those who play it.
Statement from Panthers Owner/Founder Jerry Richardson pic.twitter.com/aTDcTkfIRW
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 25, 2017
Norman also said he supports President Donald Trump’s right to weigh in on the matter.
“I think the president was right in weighing in on it,” Norman said, adding he thinks this is an important issue.
“He’s got First Amendment rights to express his opinion,” Norman said.
Norman is co-sponsoring a resolution Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) filed on Monday to remind Americans that federal law offers guidance, although not enforced by criminal penalties, on how they should behave during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner.