West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D.) told voters on Monday evening that he thinks NFL owners should step in and tell players protesting during the national anthem they won't tolerate it.
"This is something the owners have to address," Manchin said during a Facebook town hall. "The owners of these football teams, that have these contracts with these players and the conditions these players are going to be playing under, has to step in here and say, 'I'm not going to tolerate it."
Manchin also floated the idea of boycotting the league over the protests.
"The only thing that you and I can do right now is turn off the TV if you don't want to watch, don't go to the game if that's a team you don't respect for whatever reason," he said.
"I think everyone should stand and show respect for the flag that represents the greatest nation on earth that's shed more blood and lost more lives for the cause of freedom that you and I enjoy," Manchin concluded.
Earlier in the interview, Manchin explained that he has always known standing during the anthem was the "right thing to do."
"When I was a young person it was just taught to me that was the right thing to do," Manchin said. "When I got older and I realized all the sacrifices that were made for me—people that went to war, people that didn't return—when I realized all of that, I said that's my patriotic duty that I can say thank you for the flag that represents the greatest country on earth."
President Donald Trump has called for NFL players who don't stand for the anthem to be fired and suggested the league would change "fast" if fans refused to go to games.
Coaches, players and executives were upset with Trump's Friday comments about "son of a bitch" players who don't respect the flag, and the weekend's games saw players across the league do such gestures as stay in the locker room, kneel and lock arms in solidarity during the national anthem.