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October 25, 2017
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Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson took a poke at me recently for my comments on the NFL players’ protests in which I suggested that if they really cared about changing the world so much, they should give up their lucrative jobs and run for office. Watson tweeted, “The only Americans that are allowed to care about politics are those who quit their jobs and run for office? Stop @GovMikeHuckabee. Just stop."

I have the utmost respect for Mr. Watson’s athletic abilities, his faith and his personal decision to stand for the National Anthem. But I think he missed the point of what I was saying. Sure, his NFL “brothers” have the right to express themselves. But do they have the “right” to do it while in their uniforms and on the field? If so, they have “rights” no one else enjoys—no other employee who is provided a uniform and a job can use their job time or workplace to express political views.


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Why are NFL players more special than the rest of America? And if they have the right to show disrespect to the flag and national anthem, fans who pay their personal money to support them have the right to empty the stadiums, stop watching on TV, stop buying merchandise, and verbally criticize them. NFL players are forced to support the USA, but no American can be forced to support them in their whining. And Watson missed my point — if he really wants to be political, then walk away from his job like I did mine, take a big risk of losing it all, and run for office. Trying to make a political point while on someone else’s time and wearing a uniform someone else provides is a cheap way to pretend to “take a stand.” Take your stand on your own time. And if you want to say “Stop it” to anyone, say it to your teammates who are on their knees during the National Anthem.

By the way, I also disagree with the suggestion in the linked article by former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, that President Trump invite some of the players to the White House to hear their concerns. They have plenty of ways to voice their concerns without showing disrespect to America while on the job. Rewarding them for doing that with a trip to the White House doesn’t set a very good example for the youth of America, who have few enough good examples already these days.

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Comments 1-50 of 61

  • Victor Rossi

    10/27/2017 03:50 PM

    they don't have to quit their job or run for office. They can join/support organisations that fight for their cause. They can donate time and money. They can start foundations. They can educate in the disadvantaged communities. Do something real and meaningful. All they are doing is making themselves feel good and pissing people off. Tell them I said so!

  • Ralph Marshall

    10/27/2017 11:33 AM

    Totally agree with you sir. Have always enjoyed watching you debate with the liberal idiots on TV. And off on a tangent here, I must say MS Sarah is a chip off the old block. Glad to see the fantastic way she handles the biased news people and enjoy watching her put them in their rightful place. Best regards to you and her both. Retired 30+ year Vet and retired GS-13, total 46 years Federal Service.

  • Dwayne Hutson

    10/27/2017 09:38 AM

    People need to realize that their Freedom of Speech does not guarantee Freedom of Consequences......

  • Yvette Grisham

    10/27/2017 08:25 AM

    I totally agree with you! Why don't they protest on their own time? Because they don't have too & they THOUGHT we would be forced to watch their protests if they did it on national TV. I am so proud of the American people for actually boycotting the NFL! Americans love their football so this is a huge huge statement to them that we're not gonna take it anymore!! #WooPigSooie!!! #collegeballisbetterthantheNFLanyday #GOHOGS! #ThankGODforGovMikey! GOD Bless America!!!

  • clara murzynski

    10/27/2017 02:09 AM

    ‘FORCED PATRIOTISM?’
    CLARA MURZYNSKI·WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2017
    Ah yes, this is the new ‘catch phrase’ being peddled by those trying to justify this kneeling nonsense during our national anthem as being just that. I’d like to give a counter point on this dim ideology:
    ~ Is it forced patriotism when we have witnessed over the years, the countless Olympians that have stood on that winner’s platform to hear our national anthem played in their honor with tears streaming down their faces?
    ~ Is it forced patriotism when a young boy stands on the sands of Normandy Beach in France on the anniversary of D-Day holding the flag in one hand and saluting for as long as he could towards the beach where the Allies landed?
    ~ Is it forced patriotism when sound systems have failed at sporting events only to have the spectators break out in singing the national anthem themselves?
    ~ Was it forced patriotism when Rick Monday ripped a flag away from idiots trying to light it on fire in right field at Dodgers stadium?
    ~ Is it forced patriotism when a retired musician takes it upon himself to play Taps everyday at dusk in honor of those who gave their lives for us?
    ~ I’ve saved the best for last. Was it forced patriotism when those brave soldiers hoisted our flag at Iwo Jima?
    Bottom line? There is NO such thing as forced patriotism. Either you love this country or you don’t. It’s that simple. Love it or leave it. Our Constitution and those that fought and died for it have given you that option. The choice is YOURS.

  • Lenville Martin

    10/26/2017 06:08 PM

    You are right on the whole NFL problem. There are better ways to protest and I think others would walk with them instead of turning them off.

  • Kevin OQuinn

    10/26/2017 05:11 PM

    Yes Governor! Also if these players "CARED" so much, they would all get together and meet in the city of Chicago and use ALL THEIR RESOURCES to stop the black on black violence, which has run ammuck! Are these ball players telling us that sitting for our great Anthem , complaining about a few words of someone else who has an opinion himself, is more important than thousands of their OWN BROTHERS being killed at an alarming rate!

  • Donald and Dolores Castagno

    10/26/2017 01:34 PM

    Gov...You are so correct. I am 76 years old. Our family is NY Giant season ticket holders since they played in the Polo Grounds. Then, yankee Stadium, then the Yale Bowl and on and on. I refuse to watch a game now. We sold our season tickets and the PSLs. We are done with pro football. Saturday is football day now. We are season ticket holders for the Army games. We love the enthusiasm. The teamwork. The togetherness. Win or lose, They get our support.

  • David Hosack

    10/26/2017 01:20 PM

    Appreciate your opinion Mike and to a degree agree to your comments of venue to protest. However it Might be a challenge for our very dignified President to honor those “SOBs” by bringing them to the whitehouse for a conversation. Watson’s idea is a decent one and I would like to hear from the athletes what exactly they are protesting with actual evidence of systemic and institutionalized in Justice, and not random ad hoc Non-contextual video clips. Only if for once could Trump could stop poisoning the well

  • Jim Spaulding

    10/26/2017 01:10 PM

    Way to go, Governor! I love your logic and your delivery.
    And, I've said this before to you, think hard about the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee!

  • Gary George

    10/26/2017 11:59 AM

    Unfortunately there are always a few bad apples in every bushel and when the bad ones are out in the open for all to view, it makes it hard to sell the whole bushel. Your words and thoughts are well put and I agree with you entirely. I'm not sure that the bad apples in the NFL bushel are capable or willing to understand though. They have shown their true colors and now are going to have to endure the consequences.

  • TIMOTHY Z SIMMONS

    10/26/2017 11:20 AM

    MY FRUSTRATION TOLERANCE WITH ENTERTAINERS WHO ARE ALREADY OVERPAID THUGS HAS REACHED A LIMIT. THEY AND THEIR ENTIRE PRESUMPTIVE COLLECTIVE MAY QUIETLY GO TO HELL. ENOUGH! I AM NOT INTERESTED IN THEIR WRONG-HEADED, LOW CLASS TAKE ON SOCIETY. NO NFL. KEEP UP THE GOOD FIGHT. LOVE READING YOUR OPINIONS, EVEN IF I DO NOT AGREE. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS!

  • Edie Bisby

    10/26/2017 10:20 AM

    I completely agree with your stance on this subject. I am dumbfounded that any corporate entity would allow this to go on to the detriment of their bottom line. While working at one of the biggest corporations in America I was required to take diversity training, sexual harassment training, amongst others. I also had an agreement with the company that was a Code of Conduct agreement. We could not discuss politics, religion or any other subject that may be considered controversial. I would have been written up or dismissed for violating. I don’t know what is so hard for these guys to understand. Wrong time, wrong place. Keep up the great work MH. I really enjoy your posts.

  • Denisa Reberger Timberman

    10/26/2017 10:18 AM

    Thank you Governor, for all the insight and information you provide. As someone who doesn't have the time or political foundation educationally or experientially, It's helpful and important to have a trustworthy source to condense down and weed out all the media produced rabbit trails, smokescreens and plain old horse hockey.

  • Jim Ford

    10/26/2017 09:26 AM

    Well said.........but unfortunately they will not get it and if they do they will not quit.

  • Sue White

    10/26/2017 08:36 AM

    I totally agree with you Gov, I see a big difference though in protests of the 60's vs protests today. I believe change happens more quickly on the smaller stage, the individual stage where it's one on one. Some of these players could really change things by just mentoring young people that really have no one to look up to. There has to be a reason other than "I'm a champ on the field" though and that's where the one on one comes in. Like the Big Brother era, why can't each of these guys take on a couple dozen young men and help them NOT to make the same mistakes that lead them to police confrontations? IF I were in a position to help (like they are financially) I think if I saw an entire generation being raised by the street with no father and a mother that was overworked I'd jump in and at least try to make a difference. Sometimes a difference doesn't have to mean a lot of money, merely a lot of quality time, being the example...teaching the solution.

  • Joseph Trokey

    10/26/2017 08:30 AM

    I agree with you on all points. I believe in the fact that the Constitution gives us the right of free speech, but what it doesn't do is give us the right to do it anywhere and anytime we wish to. There is a right time to do things and there is also a wrong time to do things. We are suppose to have enough intelligence to know the difference although the problem lies with the fact that we are human and prone to be foolish beyond belief. With that said, I believe what you have said is correct in the fact that, if you are really concerned with changing something then you need to be willing to put yourself in a position to change it, and kneeling on a field dishonoring the flag and the nation that has made the way for you to be on that field in the first place is, at best, a poor way to do it. The example I am about to give may seem simplistic. but I believe represents a good example,so here goes. I am remodeling my house right now. If all I do is sit in my chair and say I'm not going to do anything until someone brings the material in and puts it up for me, and by the way, I am not going to pay anyone to do that, not much is going to happen. It is when I get up off my backside (or in their case,knee) and actually start remodeling that anything gets done. Too much of the time people sit down and expect someone else to correct problems for them, if, in fact, there actually is one. They act like little babies in the crib that are too helpless to feed themselves or change their diapers. They do a lot of crying but don't realize that they should be able to do it for themselves. God says that He takes care of even the little sparrows, but He expects the sparrow to fly from the nest to feed. He does not bring the food to the sparrow.

  • Ben childers

    10/26/2017 08:28 AM

    Great point Governor Huckabee! I agree, if you see something that needs to be done do it, don't point at it and wait for someone else to. This has become a fad where folks are taking a knee because others are not because they have given thought about why they are doing it or what it will accomplish. You only get two things done when you are kneeling, recovering from exerting yourself, and talking with God. We should all be doing more of the latter.

  • Tommie Evans

    10/26/2017 08:05 AM

    I read your postings daily, I agree with everything you said. Thank you for your spoken word. We can turn the chanel, stop buying, etc. And our voice is still not being heard. You are our voice, thank you and God bless you (and your daughter Sarah).

  • Mary madden

    10/26/2017 07:58 AM

    I agree with you we could not do this on our jobs and why are they allowed to? Also the flag and the anthem is more than just material and music it stands for a country that is free and so much more. If they dont like whats going on then they should do something away from their job of football to try to correct it!

  • María Salatti

    10/26/2017 07:52 AM

    Governor, excellent response. Don’t stop what you are doing! Thank you.

  • Carol Clower

    10/26/2017 07:41 AM

    I love reading your comments, probably because I always agree and appreciate the way you are able to put into words what so many people think and feel. If only your bid for political office had been successful, our nation wouldn’t be in the mess it is in today. Thank you for your loyalty to the current administration—you are such a good example for others to emulate. Keep writing ??

  • Rick Kells

    10/26/2017 07:35 AM

    Their narrative is wrong, put this out there so more can see.
    http://newbostonpost.com/2017/09/21/think-cops-are-racist-killers-here-is-why-youre-wrong/

  • Nancy Patterson

    10/26/2017 07:32 AM

    Thank you! Excellent reply to Over Paid, Underproducing individuals! It's time for players to put yourself in the Real Game of life and Stop...yes Stop the theatrics guys!!

  • John Griffin

    10/26/2017 07:27 AM

    Mr. Huckabee, Keep up the great work. 'God shed His grace on Thee.' Is a fact. Enabling the weak, empowering the progressive left can derail this great country. Mr. Prager said, We are at war with the left. Mr. Trump is the general. He is a flawed man. If we stand together, we can win. ( United we stand ) God Bless you.

  • Sherry Kenner

    10/26/2017 07:27 AM

    Well said. I would love to use part of my work day to stand on the side of the busy street outside my office while holding a sign to protest abortion. Problem is, I am not on my own time and not on my own property. NFL needs to get real.

  • Frank Gilbert

    10/26/2017 06:57 AM

    Good article that is clear and correct. Keep it up MH!!

  • Brenda Snow

    10/26/2017 06:25 AM

    I agree with you. Unfortunately, lots of people do not get it.
    I am allowed to care about what is going on in this country and I still have a full time job.

  • Larry Brown

    10/26/2017 05:58 AM

    You are exactly right and keep up the good work in telling the truth.I would hope that all those that are taking a knee would realize that if they keep doing this all their luxuries could slip away.Dont be fools!!!!

  • Thomas Douglas Roper

    10/26/2017 05:51 AM

    If these players where REALLY concerned they would create a joint fund among players and start programs for young blacks. Get them off streets. These black youths are not oppressed by whites but by other blacks in gang wars. They are often killed by officers,white and black, because as gang member they think they are invincible because they belong to a tough gang.
    They also need to as their people to forgive them for their own criminal life style. They need to break the cycle of hate.

  • Chris Hummel

    10/26/2017 04:29 AM

    Hit nail on head. Thanks for all you do Mike.

  • Bill Green

    10/26/2017 03:21 AM

    Very well said. I have always appreciated how you verbalize truth and facts that others twist to make their point. I usually say my piece witgout thinking through the consequences of my statements and the feeling of the person I feel I need to correct. Listening and reading what you talk about is not only enjoyable but educational for me. I'm proud that your speaking skills have been passed along to your daughter who is doing a check of a job as well as you. Thank you for all the work you have done and are doing.

  • Paulla Reres

    10/26/2017 03:19 AM

    Good solid points. I had a similar discussion on line with a friend. They still didn't get it. Use your own time to protest. Thanks for all you do and keep fighting the good fight. BTW, love what SHS is doing in the White House.

  • Audrey Morris

    10/26/2017 02:48 AM

    Mr. Huckabee, I agree with your concerns 100%. I also said from the beginning, ... you, I, or anyone else working under an employer would never get away with this and neither should they. What many of them have chosen to do is not at all really portraying they agenda they are after. If they want to protest I have no issue with that all, but they can form a coalition and sit down and get things in process of change. They have just stirred things and it will not get resolved the way they are doing it. Certainly the wrong way to deal with things to be proud of America an the rights we have. Thank You!

  • Ronald Faith

    10/26/2017 01:44 AM

    As always Governor, right on the mark!!! Miss your show on Fox!! Always watched!! God bless!

  • Raymond LaFehr

    10/26/2017 01:22 AM

    Awesome - don't stop ... your view is very well put - articulant and the silent majority of Americans feel the same way - we are a silent tsunamis that will not stop - until the disrepectors do.

  • Roy Mauldin Auburn, WA

    10/26/2017 12:57 AM

    Gov. Huckabee, you're absolutely correct. Keep up the good work.

  • Patricia Martinson

    10/26/2017 12:40 AM

    Amen Mr. Huckabee. Imagine if I was working for UPS and I decided to protest while on the job. I would be without a job after my first time I tried that. Have a protest after the game or on your day off. I also think these guys should volunteer to mentor a brother in need. Get personally involved in another's life and make a difference. I do that every week and i'm making a difference for one person in the African-American community. It's not just about throwing money at a problem. It's getting involved on a personal level. Bending a knee doesn't make a difference in any person's life.

  • Ruth Forester

    10/26/2017 12:30 AM

    Exactly! I agree, Gov. Huckabee. You well sum it up! They don't even seem to have legitimate cause to disrespect that Flag and our National Anthem. Stats I have heard, blacks comprise approx. 13% of the population, yet they commit over 80% of violent crime! These players should shadow police officers as they strive to do their jobs in black communities! To see and address those crime rates! My impression, the players are being tools for the movement in our country right now, for the deconstruction of American traditions, values, our very history! I very much enjoy watching your new program on TBN! Thank you for giving us your informative and inspiring perspective!

  • Leigh Galatzan

    10/26/2017 12:10 AM

    Right Gov! You are always so wise and insightful! Wish you were involved nationally, I would vote for you in a New York minute. And your daughter Sarah is doing a great job.

  • Mary Dagley

    10/26/2017 12:05 AM

    Not sure I really understand the reason behind the kneeling. They say it has to do with police brutality, but why kneel. Police Officers don't kneel. Am I not getting it. You kneel to pray, and God never done them wrong.....if they have fault with the Police, why don't they show their frustration by chasing police cruisers like other dogs do. Flag nor Anthem has ANYTHING to do with their frustration.....

  • Brenda Fountain

    10/25/2017 11:52 PM

    You are spot on sir.
    And, thank you for making your decision to run for office and trying to make a difference. Your efforts are appreciated!

  • Jason Polk

    10/25/2017 11:39 PM

    As a military veteran, I agree with Mr. Watson's ability to disagree....I signed up to protect his right to do so.....but I whole heartily agree with the challenge to step out of his comfort zone to make his opinion count. America is about freedom of choice whether you agree or disagree, but be true to your word and make your opinion count

  • Michael bryan

    10/25/2017 11:33 PM

    I agree 100% with you. NFL players are entertainers employed by US. We watch football to Escape politics and bs. When they start politicizing things it’s not fun anymore. And most of us are very Offended by the Disrespect for the flag and our country. If they have “ no respect for a country that would Allow Racism “ why do they take Our Money ?? ? Hypocritical to say the least.

  • Jo Kniffen

    10/25/2017 11:33 PM

    Well said Mr Huckabee. Thank you. I agree that if the players really wanted to make a change, they need to roll up their sleeves and step into a hardened community and be the change they are whining about. When they disrespect the flag, this nation and our veterans they immediately lose any respect and therefore any platform to speak to any issues. Men running around playing a game are not heros. They are overpaid and sadly, in many cases, spoilt overgrown children with too much money and no common sense. They make more money playing a game than our soldiers see in a lifetime. My father served this country for 39 years in the US Army. My husband served for 7 years. Let's see some of those players go to basic and be deployed where there is no fanfare, no one wanting their autograph and let them experience the reality of knowing that the next curve in the road could be a bomb. One thing for certain, those bombs are not prejudiced. They kill and maim equally. Raising a fist and bending a knee is easy. Being the change you want to see - THAT IS what shows character, conviction and strength.

  • J.W. WALLACE

    10/25/2017 11:28 PM

    The black race in America is the most pampered and protected race in the whole world. If a black person wants to go to college they are accepted no matter how low their academic scores are. All other races must compete with high scores. If they want a job employers are required to give them preference in hiring and promotions. If some one harms a black person penalties' are doubled over harming another race. Free housing and food and a monthly check if they choose not work. Now Athey want a free pass to attack police and a law that says the police officer can not protect himself. Ninety percent of all black lives that they are protesting about were policemen defending themselves from an attack. This can be stopped if anyone destroying government property (police cars) or destroying anyones property stores,cars, this person would lose all government assistance, [Rent,
    food stamps, health care, phone,} we do not need to be a nation that pays people a salary to destroy our properties. At every football game there are approx. 80 multimillionaires on the football field that all young black youth admire and idolize. With their time and money they can do more for this problem than any other organization. It is a proven fact that government can not, they have tried for 50 years and it will continue until they cut off all gov. payments to offenders who attack poli
    ce and destroy peoples property.



    ?

  • Rod stanton

    10/25/2017 11:26 PM

    You’re wrong Mike. I work at a place that sells products to customers. Every day after I clock in I step out the front door and give the finger to everyone that walks up then I tell them that I don’t care if they don’t buy our product. Oh wait... I made that all up.

  • Cathy H Wilkerson

    10/25/2017 11:20 PM

    You are spot on. if these whining so called men want changes do something besides kneel on company time. I find it amazing that none of them are doing nothing. Start up forums, set up scholarships for impovished teens. Run for office like u said. its a crying shame that the media acts as if this behavior is ok. it has become there very few media outlets are credible.

  • Chang H Lee

    10/25/2017 11:12 PM

    Gov Huckabee,
    I whole-heartedly agree with your take. The values you uphold come from wisdom above.
    If there is to be any fruitful dialogue, it would need to first start with showing respect for our country and flag.
    Better leadership is needed in the NFL. Other sports, such as NASCAR, seem to have leaders that support our flag and for what it stands for, without allowing political distractions to rule their business.
    Your vocal leadership is greatly appreciated!
    Thank you for sharing your insight!


    Sincerely,
    Chang Lee

  • George Horn

    10/25/2017 11:11 PM

    These self-entitled athletes need to be put in their place. You are right Mike, if these people want to make change, they need to pick different venue.