Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton (Mass.) said Friday during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that it doesn't make him "feel good" to see NFL players kneeling and disrespecting the American flag.
New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked Moulton what he thought the real message was behind NFL players choosing to kneel during the national anthem.
"Some people are saying that it's a conversation about the flag, but the players are also saying it's really a conversation about police brutality. What's your take?" Alcindor asked.
Moulton, who served four tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine Corps officer, said he listens to the players that are kneeling.
"I listen to the players who are kneeling, and they are saying it's a conversation about police brutality," Moulton said. "The problem is that it's been distracted by this conversation about the flag. The players have every right in the world to kneel and protest. That's a right defended by the Constitution, but I'm not sure it's the most respectful or best way to bring this issue to light."
Moulton went on to note that he is a veteran and that it doesn't make him "feel good" to see people disrespecting the American flag
"I'm a veteran. I support the flag. It doesn't make me feel good to see people disrespecting the flag. But, I also swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution," Moulton said. "Both as the United States Marine and as a member of Congress, I understand that free speech is protected, but let's make sure we're talking about the right things."
"We should point out Congressman Moulton served four tours in Iraq and was one of the first platoons into Baghdad, so he knows of what he speaks," Co-host Willie Geist said.
President Donald Trump sparked a firestorm last Friday when he told an Alabama crowd that NFL owners should not tolerate and fire players who disrespect the American flag. He told the crowd owners should say, "get that son of a bitch off the field right now," if a player kneels during the national anthem.