Tammy Duckworth Offers A Veteran's Perspective On The NFL's National Anthem Policy

"It was ... my honor to defend people’s right to free speech."

In a powerful Twitter post, Sen. Tammy Duckworth added her voice to the conversation surrounding the NFL's new rules banning players from kneeling during the national anthem. The Illinois Democrat's support for protesting players is especially meaningful considering she is a veteran. 

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"One day, our nation's flag will drape over my coffin, just as it did my Dad's and will my husband's and brother's," Duckworth wrote on Friday to caption a photo of her prosthetic legs. (The retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel lost both her legs in Iraq.)

"I will always stand on these legs for the flag and anthem, but it was ALSO my honor to defend people's right to free speech," the senator added, "including those who choose to #TakeAKnee to express outrage at the glaring disparity in how Americans of different races are treated."

The practice of taking a knee during "The Star-Spangled Banner" was inspired by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, as a way of protesting police brutality and racial inequality in the United States. Many critics of the decision to kneel have claimed that it is disrespectful to those who have served in the U.S. military — an argument which several vets such as Duckworth have challenged.

According to the NFL's new rules, players must stand on the field for the national anthem or remain in the locker room. Teams could face fines if players don't comply. Athletes such as the Eagles' Chris Long have spoken out about the new policy, challenging its supposed "patriotism."

Sen. Duckworth also previously spoke out about President Donald Trump's proposed ban on transgender people in the military. "If you are willing to risk your life for our country, and you can do the job you should be able to serve — no matter your gender identity or sexual orientation," she wrote at the time. 

(H/T: The Hill)

Cover image: Gregory Reed / Shutterstock.com

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