Korie Robertson says NFL players kneeling during the national anthem felt like 'a total rejection of America'

Raechal Shewfelt
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·3-min read

Willie and Korie Robertson's Facebook Watch series, At Home With the Robertsons, is all about having uncomfortable conversations, and the latest episode was no exception. The former Duck Dynasty stars welcomed current and former NFL players — Arian Foster, Michael Thomas and Nate Boyer — into their Louisiana home to talk about the controversial practice of athletes kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.

"The guys made the point that this is not hating America," Korie said. "This is a specific protest about police brutality and injustice against Black people. Once that came out and that message was kind of understood, people were more accepting of it, where at first it just felt like a total, just like, rejection of America and the values that we hold."

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Still, Willie wasn't convinced that pro football games — which he watches in his down time — are the best time to protest. 

"Let's say I've got something that I feel passionate about and I could go to someone's wedding and stand up right in the middle and say it," he said. "It would be all over the news, it'll be the thing talked about and is that the best, y'know, is that the best time?"

Foster replied that it never feels like the right time to protest, but it's what often needs to be done.

"If you look at the history of this country, it was literally founded on protests, you were literally running from Britain right?" Thomas said. "You were protesting taxation, this is what this country was founded on was protests. So to say protesting is inappropriate at any time is just to me a lack of understanding of how this country even got started ... there's nothing more fundamentally American than a protest."

Korie pointed out that the whole point of the NFL protests is that they're during games.

"Because it is when people are watching," she said. "If you have a platform and there's a chance for you to get eyeballs on it, and you have something that's really important to you, that's probably a good time to do it."

At one point, Willie said his issue with the protests is that he doesn't want to be thinking about politics when he's watching football.

Thomas had a very logical response.

"Everybody who took a knee, everybody who was fighting for social justice and using their voice and platform," he said, "we were just trying to say, 'Look, if we're looked at as leaders in our community, and we can talk about, you know, stopping domestic violence; we can talk about, like, you know, raising awareness for cancer, anti-bullying and stuff like that, when it comes to issues in the African American community, why can’t we be the leaders and the champions of that as well? And use our voice and platform and do it?'"

Foster said he always thought it was "a little hypocritical" for people to say they just want to keep it to the game.

"Before the game, the American flag is flying, the national anthem is playing, you've got aircraft flying over, you've got … the Navy Seals jumping out," Foster said. "You have what I would label as propaganda for the military and that's literally the epitome of politics."

As Foster put it, he simply doesn't feel "warm or fuzzy" when he hears the national anthem.

The Robertsons have previously discussed subjects such as whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine, how beauty pageants affect women and the best ways to talk to children about racism.

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