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NFL Is Challenged to Step Up on the National Anthem Kneeling Problem

Former New England Patriots player Matt Light tells 'The Ingraham Angle' that most players oppose the controversial protests

“I don’t have a problem with the players banding together and trying to come up with a message and effect change,” said retired New England Patriots offensive tackle Matt Light (shown above left).

He was speaking Tuesday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” about the subject of NFL players who kneel for or otherwise protest the national anthem before football games.

“I do have a problem with the overall spirit and the tone of what’s been going on in the National Football League,” he added. “For a lot of former players, it’s a very difficult topic to bring up.”

“As good as the intentions are for some of these players, I’ll bet they’re intimidated [about] speaking out. I’ll bet a lot of the players are afraid to speak out,” responded host Laura Ingraham.

Light said, “Most Americans, and by the way, the overwhelming majority of the players in the National Football League … feel like kneeling is disrespectful for a million reasons.”

He attributes the current national anthem situation to a failure in leadership.

“To me, you can get a lot accomplished working together instead of pointing fingers,” said Ingraham, speaking of her interview with Ben Watson on Monday night’s show; the New Orleans Saints player expressed a desire to work with President Donald Trump on criminal justice reform.

“I was quick to come out and say I did not appreciate when the Patriots knelt last season, and I caught a lot of flak for that,” said Light. “I don’t feel as though if you have a cause that you should be able to put your teammates in harm’s way.”

Ingraham asked him if he believes there are current Patriots players who share his beliefs about standing for the flag but who are afraid to speak out. Light did not hesitate: “Of course there are. It’s a tough thing to do. You get attacked from every angle.”

“We need our leaders. We need Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith to stand up and make a difference,” he concluded.

Earlier this summer, the New England Patriots organization announced that Light, their former offensive tackle, would be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Light spent his 11-year career with the organization; the team earned three Super Bowl titles during that time.

For the third year in a row, viewership of the NFL season opener continued its decline.

The induction ceremony will be held at NRG Plaza in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Saturday, September 29.

Earlier this week, on “The Ingraham Angle” Monday night, New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson said, “As players, we are open to any invitation from the president of the United States, obviously. And we will go work with him.”

Watson was responding to Ingraham’s suggestion the president is eager to work with the players to effect broader criminal justice reform.

For the third year in a row, viewership of the NFL season opener continued its decline.

The opening game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons dropped 12 percent compared to last year’s opener.

Total viewership — including television and online — dropped from 25.4 to 22.2 to 19.5 million in 2016, 2017, and this year, respectively.

Check out Matt Light’s full interview on “The Ingraham Angle” in the video below:

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.