Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore gave an interview with Time Magazine in which he said that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are breaking the law. “It’s against the law, you know that?” he said. “It was an act of Congress that every man stand and put their hand over their heart. That’s the law.”
According to Newsmax, Moore is referring to a section of the U.S. Code that outlines appropriate conduct during the national anthem. That section states:
“Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and . . . all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their head dress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.”
The code doesn’t necessarily give any legal penalties for not following these rules.
Disputes over players kneeling over the national anthem have been at the forefront of national news, as politicians debate over the motives of the protests. President Trump has said that these protests are a blatant disrespect of the country, and has called for any NFL player who kneels during the anthem to be fired. Meanwhile, others believe that the players are exercising their right to protest the injustice they see throughout the country.
“I back the President in upholding respect for the patriotism for our country, on two grounds,” Moore said. “One, it’s respect for the law. If we don’t respect the law, what kind of country are we going to have? Two, it’s respect for those who have fallen and given the ultimate sacrifice. I’m surprised that no one brought this up.”
“If they didn’t have it in there, it would just be tradition,” he added. “But this is law. If we disobey this, what else are we going to disobey?”