Stephen A. Smith believes the NFL has every right to tell their players to stand for the national anthem because the first amendment was intended to provide defense from the government silencing individuals, rather than workers of private sector businesses. On Wednesday's edition of ESPN's First Take, Smith laid into those who believe the NFL is overreaching mandating their players to stand for the anthem.
“We have to remember when everybody wants to bring up first amendment privileges; basically the intent of it all was for government not to be able to silence you–not the private sector," Smith said before clarifying his thoughts. "The National Football League is the private sector. And if they decide that they want to silence these individual players, if they decide they want to implement a rule that states: ‘You must stand for the national anthem, you must come out that tunnel, out of that locker room, be on the sidelines and stand for the national anthem,’ it’s perfectly within their right to do it as a private industry and a private employer. That is a fact.”
While explaining his belief that a part of President Trump's railing against the NFL stems from being shunned from team ownership in the past, Smith went on to say the NFL must address the attacks coming from the President as a unified group.
"The National Football League, as far as I’m concerned, are coming across as incredibly weak in one respect. They need, as a collective body meaning the commissioner in consent with the owners, to address Donald Trump, the President of the United States, and some of his attacks on him." Smith said. "They need to address him directly.”
Check out the video above.