Dayton questions athletes kneeling during national anthem

Published 10:24 pm Monday, September 25, 2017

ST. PAUL  — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he disagrees with professional athletes who sit or kneel during the national anthem.

At least 200 NFL players knelt, sat, stretched or prayed during the anthem Sunday after President Donald Trump’s weekend criticism of athletes who don’t stand for the pregame ritual. Minnesota Vikings players and management stood with locked arms before their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Dayton on Monday called that the appropriate response but said players have a constitutional right and shouldn’t be punished. The Democratic governor says multi-million dollar athletes should focus their energy on fighting the cause of their protests rather than kneeling.

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Trump called for teams to remove players who sit or kneel. The protest campaign started last year with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.