Editorial: NFL protests are actually illegal

Here is another good reason why NFL players shouldn’t disrespect the American flag and National Anthem.

It’s against the law.

That’s according to former Roy Moore, former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

Moore, the Republican nominee for the Senate in Alabama, said NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are breaking the law.

“It’s against the law, you know that?” Moore said in an interview with Time magazine. “It was an act of Congress that every man stand and put their hand over their heart. That’s the law.”

Moore is correct about U.S. Code 36-USC-301. That law does not dictate penalties for violations.

In fact, kneeling during the National Anthem is a specific violation of the NFL’s own rules of conduct.

The NFL has been under intense criticism from President Donald Trump and some fans because of protests by players who have refused to stand during the anthem. But because of the racial overtones (most of the protesting players are black), the NFL has decided not to enforce that rule.

After an owners’ meeting in October, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league believes its players should stand for the anthem, but the owners did not implement a rule change mandating that they do so.

Former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the controversy by taking a knee during the National Anthem in 2016 to protest “police brutality” against unarmed black people and the “oppression of minorities.”

President Trump has criticized the NFL protests.

“I back the President in upholding respect for the patriotism for our country, on two grounds,” Moore said. “One, it’s respect for the law. If we don’t respect the law, what kind of country are we going to have? Two, it’s respect for those who have fallen and given the ultimate sacrifice. I’m surprised that no one brought this up.”

Let’s hope Alabama adds Judge Moore’s wisdom to the U.S. Senate.