A former NFL running back accused the league of buying players’ silence by promising to donate tens of millions of dollars to charitable organizations if they agreed to stop kneeling during the national anthem.
Herschel Walker, who played the majority of his 12-year career with the Dallas Cowboys, described the $100 million offer made in November as ‘hush money,’ adding that players should not have protested in the first place.
‘The league gave the players a large sum of money toward their cause… That’s hush money,’ the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner told Fox News.
According to ESPN, the NFL offered to donate the money over a seven-year period to causes important to African-American communities. Team owners are expected to vote on the proposal in March.
Walker continued by saying that Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player credited with starting the demonstration in 2016, would have not protested if he had been the starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers instead of the back-up.
‘When you have an idle mind, you start doing things,’ said Walker.
He added: ‘[You] have guys who want to kneel, want to talk about their First Amendment rights. Well, your First Amendment right should be, “I want to stand for our military,'” he said.
The protests were a topic of contention for most of the 2017 football season.
A mostly black contingent of athletes, unified but small compared to the size of the league, followed Kaepernick’s lead by kneeling instead of standing as The Star Spangled Banner was played or sung.
The demonstration was intended as a statement of support for black victims of police brutality, but was taken in parts of the country as a gut-punch to America’s national identity.
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Source: Daily Mail