Nancy Pelosi has never played a down of football in her life, but she obviously knows what it means to punt.
The House Minority leader appeared on a CNN Town Hall Thursday and was asked for her reaction to the NFL’s new national anthem policy that requires players, coaches or other team personnel who are on the sidelines to stand for the national anthem, while those who do not wish to stand are asked to remain in the locker room during the anthem.
While most Democrats were probably looking for Pelosi to slam the league for appearing to dissuade players from using the anthem as a platform for promoting social justice, Pelosi instead sidestepped the issue.
“I would be more OK with it if they consulted with the players,” she said of the league’s owners. “I don’t think the players agreed to this. This is the owners. And by the way, it’s the owners who would be fined,” she said as those in the audience applauded.
“I love the national anthem. … I’m from Baltimore. That’s where it was written, during the War of 1812. So I’m very possessive of it. Some people say maybe we should change the national anthem. No,” she said.
Pelosi’s answer was viewed as a non-answer by a number of liberals, who took to Twitter to criticize her for fumbling the opportunity to stand up for what the players are protesting.
This is Democrats at their worst. Uhg. You either believe people have the right to voice their opinions or you don’t. Their quiet gesture is meant to make people think about people getting murdered and abused. To not support someone’s right to do that is unconscionable. https://t.co/cn3ORQ7WgE
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) May 25, 2018
This isn’t a reflection on all Democrats, but a reflection on career politicians. They factor in fundraising, polling, longevity, and past defeats before uttering a word. That’s why shorter term limits on House and Senate positions are necessary.
— David Vienna (@davidvienna) May 25, 2018
In a Washington Post Op-Ed titled “Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to condemn NFL decision shows why Democrats struggle with black millennials,” Eugene Scott said Pelosi’s response is reason to wonder if the Democratic Party has black voters’ “best interests in mind.”
The African-American entertainment site Bossip was livid at Pelosi over her NFL comments, calling the 78-year-old Democrat a “coward.”
“Do you see this broad walking that tightrope?” they wrote. “She should quit her gig with the government and go on the road with Cirque Du Soleil.”
“She can’t even fix her mouth to just say the undeniable truth, that the rule is a bunch of bulls–t. But will without doubt put out her wrinkly hand and ask for our vote.”
But Jacob Weindling of Paste Magazine said Pelosi was being politically savvy to be vague in an election year.
“If Nancy Pelosi had said something like, ‘It was horrible of the NFL to violate their employees’ First Amendment rights, and we all need to understand this isn’t about protesting the military or the anthem,’ that reasonable clip would still appear in every GOP commercial across the country,” Weindling said.
“They would play the edited video with sinister overtones, and say something to the effect of ‘[Congressional candidate] is a Nancy Pelosi liberal who wants to go to Washington to help make it easier to protest the men and women in uniform of this great country.’”