If NFL protesters tried to take a knee in North Korea, they’d be doing it in front of a firing squad. That according to Pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas’ First Baptist Church, who said on Monday, that spoiled NFL players would pay dearly for their lack of patriotism if they lived under the rule of Kim Jung-Un.
During a Monday appearance on Fox & Friends, Jeffress said, “These players ought to be thanking God that they live in a country where they’re not only free to earn millions of dollars every year, but they’re also free from the worry of being shot in the head for taking the knee like they would be in North Korea. And I think tens of millions of Americans agree with President Trump when he says they ought to be called out for this.”
Jeffress is referring to President Trump’s many comments criticizing the NFL for allowing the anti-American protests. Specifically his comments made last week at a rally in Alabama for Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange.
Trump slammed the players who refuse to stand for the national anthem and said he hoped that the owners would fire those players.
Jeffress, who is one of Donald Trump’s close friends and also sits on the president’s evangelical advisory board, said he agreed with Trump that taking a knee or refusing to stand for the anthem is disrespectful of the country:
“There is a better way to protest without disrespecting our country or disrespecting our country’s leaders,” Jeffers told the Fox hosts. “For example, a few years ago you had those Oregon Christian bakers who were almost driven into bankruptcy for practicing their faith. That’s injustice, but they didn’t respond by calling then President Obama a ‘bum.’ Or this football coach you all have covered who was fired for voluntarily praying. He didn’t respond to that injustice by failing to stand for the national anthem. I think what these players are doing is absolutely wrong.”
Jeffress also defended the president against those who claim his criticism of the protests is “racist.”
“I know this president. President Trump is not a racist. For President Trump, this is not about race. It’s about respect of country,” Jeffress said.
After his appearance on Fox Jeffress began to receive some push-back, however, he stood by his words in a statement to the Mercury News.
“I stand by my comments as taken within their full context,” the pastor said, the Christian Post reported. “It is an absolute fact that in many countries of the world professional athletes would be imprisoned — or worse — for publicly opposing their nation’s anthem or disrespecting their national leaders. If any member of the press doubts this fact, then I would encourage them to take a trip to North Korea themselves, publicly shame Kim Jong Un, and then see what happens.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.