Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his recently grown beard have a brutal message for the NFL and the players who kneel for the national anthem.
While walking through an airport in Washington, D.C., TMZ asked Cruz if Congress should get involved to oversee how the NFL handles investigations into players and issues.
The TMZ reporter mentioned the case involving former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, who was cut from the team last month after a video surfaced allegedly showing him physically assaulting a woman.
Cruz knocked the NFL for self-sabotaging itself for years.
“I think it has been amazing watching the NFL do unprecedented damage to their brand and the way they handled the anthem protest,” Cruz said.
“I think was spectacularly harmful to professional football,” he added.
When asked about Congress stepping in, Cruz said the fans should decide if they will continue to watch and support the league.
“At the end of the day, I trust the fans to exercise the appropriate check,” Cruz said.
In the last few years, the NFL has experienced a substantial decline in viewership, fan support, and revenue amid players protesting during the national anthem.
The issue was greatly magnified last year when President Donald Trump began railing against the league for not either fining, suspending, or firing players who he said were disrespecting the American flag and anthem.
Many agree with Trump railing on the NFL for allowing players to protest and disrespect those who risked their lives to defend America.
But several liberals have taken issue with people like Trump and Cruz attacking players who take a knee during the anthem.
In October, left-wing comedian Amy Schumer questioned whether white players in the NFL who don’t kneel with their black teammates are “complicit” in the “endless racism people of color face in our country.”
Schumer argued that more white players should stand up for their “brothers and sisters of color” by taking a knee.
“I wonder why more white players aren’t kneeling,” she wrote. “Once you witness the truly deep inequality and endless racism people of color face in our country, not to mention the police brutality and murders. Why not kneel next to your brothers? Otherwise how are you not complicit?”
Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat who lost to Cruz in the Texas Senate race last month, argued that there was “nothing more American” than kneeling for the anthem.
“My short answer is: No, I don’t think it’s disrespectful,” O’Rourke responded when asked about anthem kneelers. “I can think of nothing more American.”
As the NFL’s ratings continue to decline, it doesn’t look like the league is prepared to take any action against those who refuse to stand for the national anthem.