Playing the national anthem before NFL games is nothing more than a “scam” to grab recruits for the military, actor Jesse Williams claimed Sunday.
During an MSNBC interview, Williams said that because the National Football League at one time took part in what have been termed “paid patriotism” activities aimed at boosting support for the military, expecting athletes to stand for the anthem is wrong.
“[Saying] we need to stand and pledge for the allegiance and this anthem thing is a scam. This is not a part of football,” he said.
Williams said standing for the anthem “was invented in 2009 from the government (by) paying the NFL to market military recruitment — to get more people to fight wars to die.”
Activities for which the NFL was paid to promote the military reportedly began in 2011. Further, the fact that before 2009 the decision about being on the field for the anthem was left up to the various teams does not mean that most were not already on the field when the anthem was played.
Dallas vs Pittsburgh, Super Bowl X, January 18, 1976….National Anthem. pic.twitter.com/5PyHigMFiB
— John Pappas (@cityhallmayor) September 24, 2017
Although his assertion ran counter to some of the facts, Williams was on a roll.
“This is not — nothing to do with the NFL or the American pastime or tradition. This is to get boys and girls to go fly overseas and go kill people… They’re marketing and pumping millions of dollars into the NFL to get us to put on a pageant in front of the NFL football games to get you to go off and fight,” he said
The fact-checking site Snopes said “paid patriotism” events, such as days honoring veterans, ended in 2015 — one year before the controversy over standing for the anthem began.
Williams further indicted the NFL for the fact that a few of its owners supported President Donald Trump.
“I think we have a perception that athletics is entirely a meritocracy and the NFL proves that… We know that seven or eight owners gave Donald Trump $1 million each and are friends with a horrible guy who thinks he’s a dictator, who treats America like it’s a game show,” said the Grey’s Anatomy star.
Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino said Williams typifies what is wrong with Hollywood.
“What planet does this clown live on?” Bongino said Monday during an appearance on Fox & Friends.
“Is this joker serious that this is some kind of a scam? You know what’s a scam? Hollywood continuing to take our money while they crap all over Americans who give their hard-earned money to watch these people entertain us, and then turn around the very next day and call us all deplorables, idiots, and they make fun of us all the time,” he said.
He said actors should stay out of politics.
“We really don’t care about your opinion, Jesse,” Bongino said. “Clam up, and go entertain us for a living.”