Over the weekend, NFL players across the country took a knee during or before the national anthem. It was simultaneously a protest against police brutality, a symbol of team solidarity, and a rebuke against President Trump, who said during a rally he wished owners would say, "get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he's fired" if a player protested during the anthem. On Monday evening, a congresswoman took the protest to the floor of the House of Representatives, HuffPost reports.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat from Texas, gave a powerful speech protesting President Trump's rhetoric against NFL players. She also explained the First Amendment protects people who want to kneel in front of the flag or during the national anthem. "There is no regulation that says that these young men cannot stand against the dishonoring of their mothers by you calling them, 'fire the son of a b,'" she said. "That is racism. You cannot deny it, you cannot run [from] it, and I kneel in honor of them."
She then took a knee on the House floor and continued speaking. "I kneel in front of the flag and on this floor. I kneel in honor of the First Amendment," she said. "I kneel because the flag is a symbol for freedom. I kneel because I'm going to stand against racism. I kneel because I will stand with those young men, and I'll stand with our soldiers, and I'll stand with America, because I kneel."
Rep. Jackson Lee tweeted that she was "proud to kneel in defense of the First Amendment."
Her colleague, civiil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, supported the #TakeaKnee movement online, noting how it has long been a symbol of nonviolent protest.