On Wednesday's CNN Tonight, host Don Lemon added his name to the list of liberals sulking over the NFL decision to bar players from kneeling during the National Anthem as he complained that it would "deprive" them of their "First Amendment rights to free speech," and suggested that those who oppose the kneeling will some day realize they were "duped" by President Donald Trump, and that they were "on the wrong side of history" like those who opposed civil rights in 1968.
He also concluded the segment by dismissing the practice of playing the National Anthem during games with people standing as "fake pageantry and patriotism" and not "what real patriotism is about."
After former NFL official Joe Lockhart complained about Trump "dividing' people, Lemon dismissed the President's complaints about the kneeling protests: "And also because they wouldn't allow him to own an NFL team, which is a whole other story, which is probably the real reason behind this."
A bit later, he likened those who oppose kneeling to opponents of civil rights as he invoked the upcoming CNN documentary on the events of 1968, which includes the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lemon:
Airing this weekend is a CNN documentary, 1968, that I screened, and I wonder if people will look back -- the protesters, the people who were against the protesters -- that they look back and say, "Oh, my gosh, what was I doing? What was I thinking?" I think people who believe what the President is saying will one day look back and go, "My goodness, I was duped. I was on the wrong side of history."
A bit later, he read a tweet from Vice President Mike Pence in which he celebrated "winning" on the issue of the anthem, Lemon turned to conservative CNN commentator Ben Ferguson and posed: "How is it winning to deprive others of their First Amendment rights to free speech and to express themselves over an important issue?"
Ferguson pointed out that First Amendment rights are not being violated, and recalled that Colin Kaepernick had painted his protest as anti-police by wearing socks depicting police officers as pigs.
The CNN host ended up concluding the segment by complaining about "fake pageantry and patriotism" at the games: "Perhaps we should be more concerned about the rights of Americans and Americans being beaten out on the street -- African-Americans, people of color and on and on instead of some fake pageantry and patriotism. That's what real patriotism is about."