A Bucks County state senator who represents Newtown Borough, Newtown Township and Upper Makefield announced Monday that he is co-sponsoring a resolution “condemning the National Football League for demonstrations – including one team refusing to take the field for the national anthem during their Sunday, September 24th schedule.”
State Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, a Republican, noted in a statement that he was supporting the resolution. The announcement came after President Donald Trump’s fiery comments on the topic Friday at a political rally in Alabama and a barrage of related tweets.
“Sports has traditionally been a setting where Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs would come together, set differences aside, and stand as one for our national anthem,” McIlhinney said. “The song itself only lasts about 90 seconds, but it’s uniting force is powerful. While many teams and players chose to demonstrate in some way, I am deeply saddened by the Steelers’ decision to boycott our anthem entirely. That decision not only disrespected those who fight for our freedom, it deprived everyone present of a badly needed unifying moment.”
McIlhinney further added that “state taxpayers who helped pay for the Steelers’ stadium have every right to be upset that the team chose to boycott our national anthem.” He said many fans are military families and seeing the demonstration is a “slap in their face.”
The senator’s office said McIlhinney hopes the resolution in Harrisburg will “help restore respect of the national anthem and military members and encourage a more constructive approach to societal issues.”
“America, like every nation on earth, is not perfect. All decent citizens are dedicated to ensuring equal treatment in all circumstances, even though we know that our society does not always measure up to that standard. But engaging in such a divisive act only makes it that much harder to bring people together to achieve the goal of freedom and liberty for all,” McIlhinney said.
Before Trump’s statements on Friday and throughout the weekend, the demonstration by a small number of the NFL’s 1,700 players was mainly out of the national zeitgeist this season after gaining considerable media attention last year.