Dem Senator on NFL National Anthem Rule Change: They're 'Moving in the Right Path'

May 24, 2018

Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.) praised the NFL's decision to fine players who don't stand for the national anthem Thursday.

"Employers have the right to establish reasonable standards on how their employees can express themselves," Cardin said during an interview with CNN. "So I think what the NFL is doing right now is moving in the right path."

Cardin prefaced his reaction by saying the United States "stands for the constitutional protections of the First Amendment, the right of freedom of speech."

The senator's comments came after CNN played him a clip of President Donald Trump reacting to the NFL rule change, which was approved by league owners Wednesday.

"We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it—and on our fans who enjoy it," the league said in a statement.

Players who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room until after the anthem has been performed.

Trump was mostly pleased with the change.

"I don't think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still, I think it's good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there. Maybe you shouldn't be in the country. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem," Trump said.

CNN's Poppy Harlow pressed Cardin to respond specifically to Trump's comments on the announcement, asking if they were "dangerous." Cardin responded that it was "unacceptable" but that he expects "inflammatory" language of the sort from the president.