What to Know
- Rep. Peter King called the Jets "disgraceful" in a tweet that likened the national anthem protest to Nazi salutes
- The NFL passed a new policy requiring players to stand during the national anthem or stay in the locker room
- New York Jets owner Christopher Johnson said his team will pay any fines doled out by the league, without passing on punishment to players
Rep. Peter King took aim at the New York Jets for supporting players who want to kneel during the national anthem, calling the move "disgraceful" and comparing the protest to Nazi salutes.
King, a Republican from Long Island, tweeted his response Saturday to the New York Jets chairman Christopher Johnson saying his players can take a knee during the national anthem if they choose without punishment from the team.
King wrote: "Disgraceful that @nyjets owner will pay fines for players who kneel for National Anthem. Encouraging a movement premised on lies vs. police. Would he support all player protests? Would he pay fines of players giving Nazi salutes or spew racism? It’s time to say goodbye to Jets!"
The Jets didn't immediately respond to a request by NBC 4 New York for comment.
The league on Wednesday adopted a new policy requiring players and league personnel to "stand and show respect for the flag" and the national anthem if they are on the field. But under the new policy, players who do not wish to stand may stay off the field, giving people a way to demonstrate without the public spectacle that became a heated topic of national conversation last season.
However, the Jets verified Twitter account tweeted a statement following the news of the new policy stating Johnson “will support our players wherever we land as a team.”
Last season, dozens of players decided to kneel or otherwise demonstrate during the anthem to draw attention to police violence against minoritized groups and the treatment of Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who was one of the first to protest in such a way.
Nobody on the Jets kneeled last season and instead, the team stood in unity.