Jumaane Williams wants the Giants and Bills to follow the Jets’ lead.
The New York City Council Member (D-Brooklyn) and current Lt. Governor candidate sent an open letter to the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills on Tuesday, urging them to adopt the same policy that Jets acting owner Christopher Johnson has instituted by pledging to pay the fines of any player on his roster who protests during the national anthem.
Williams is also calling on all statewide candidates to publicly denounce the NFL’s new anthem policy that requires players to stand on the field or remain in the locker room during the anthem, or the teams will be fined.
And although Williams is hoping his fellow Democrats will fall in line, he wants everybody involved in New York politics to take a stand against the policy.
“I really think that everyone running for office, and elected officials particularly in this state, should be on the side of defending individuals rights and not restricting them,” Williams told the Daily News.
“Particularly when it comes to this form of protest, which is probably the most American thing that you can do. My expectation though, would be primarily Democrats who in this day and age are claiming to be people who are rooted in activism or claiming to be progressives. People who are seeking the Democratic nomination very often come to the most affected communities for votes, but when it comes time to stand up for those communities they’re not available.”
The NFL’s new policy prompted President Trump to suggest last week that players who protest should be deported. And with 2018 being a midterm election year, Williams believes the NFL and the protest conversation could possibly have an effect on voters.
“I think he (Trump) hopes so, and he’ll do whatever he can to try to avoid how disgraceful he’s been in his Presidency,” Williams said. “At the same time, if Democrats would have stood up to their true values a few years ago, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”