ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton lent his voice to the debate surrounding the National Football League and its players who refuse to stand for the national anthem prior to the start of games.
The Fairbault Daily News reports that Dayton described the flag as “sacrosanct” and said it is worthy of being respected in his opinion.
“I personally disagree with those who sit or kneel during the national anthem,” Dayton said, reports the Fairbault Daily News. He added that sports figures should work instead to “counteract the deficiencies that they are speaking out against. But I don’t question their constitutional right to do so and unfortunately, the president …has made this into a much greater conflict than it should be.”
Following controversial remarks on such anthem based protests by President Donald Trump, the entirety or vast majority of the entire teams of the Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tennessee Titans all stayed in the locker room during the national anthem for this weekend’s slate of NFL games. The Minnesota Vikings meanwhile linked arms and stood for the national anthem.
Dayton praised this approach in remarks made Monday, calling the conduct “very appropriate,” reports the Fairbault Daily News. While he might not like the conduct other teams’ players have engaged in, he recognizes their First Amendment right to kneel for the anthem or stay in the locker room for its duration.
“I have my personal opinion and various players who have taken positions have their and they have a right to their position and I have a right to mine,” according to the Fairbault Daily News.
A proposal for a constitutional amendment banning flag burning came up in the United States Congress periodically from 1995 until the most recent attempt in 2006. Dayton was an advocate for the flag then as well, as during his time in the Senate he was one of a minority of Democratic Senators who voted for the amendment. The 2006 attempt fell just one vote short of passing the Senate, by a 66-34 vote following a 286-130 vote in the House.
Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura also voiced his opinion earlier this week, calling the national anthem a form of propaganda.