Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas reacted with fury after players across the NFL on Sunday followed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s lead and staged silent protests during the national anthem.
The Texas Republican quoted a tweet from ex-NBA star and current ESPN analyst Jalen Rose: “Salute to all @NFL players & teams that peacefully did protests for change. #standfornothingfallforanything.”
“Here’s a peaceful protest: never buy another shoe, shirt, or jersey of rich spoiled athletes who dishonor our flag,” Cruz fired back.
Players for teams including the Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, and Kansas City Chiefs staged silent protests ahead of their games on Sunday. Some knelt and others linked arms during the performance of the anthem, with the aim of raising awareness of how African-Americans are treated in the US.
Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters of the Chiefs raised his right fist during the anthem after saying on Saturday that he agreed “100%” with Kaepernick’s much-discussed decision to kneel during the anthem. Peters’ teammates linked arms.
“After having a number of thoughtful discussions as a group regarding our representation during the national anthem, we decided collectively to lock arms as a sign of solidarity,” the Chiefs said in a statement.
For his part, Cruz went off earlier this month when a reporter asked him about Kaepernick.
“You know, it’s sad when you see rich, spoiled athletes that don’t recognize what an incredible blessing this country is,” the Texas Republican said. “You know, it’s very easy when you’re sitting there rolling in millions of dollars to disrespect this country.”
“I come at it from a different perspective,” he continued. “I come from a perspective of my dad was imprisoned and tortured in Cuba, and America has meant what it’s meant to millions across the globe. It’s meant hope. It’s meant freedom.”