Matthews Brings on Former 9/11 Truther, Ex-Player to Blast National Anthem Decision

Amid an absolutely insane Thursday night edition of Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews repeatedly condemned the new NFL policy regarding protests of the Star-Spangled Banner and, during one such instance, he relied on help from former NFL player Donte Stallworth, who happens to be a former 9/11 truther

Solid move, Chris, bringing on a 9/11 truther to criticize a league decision regarding player protests during the country’s most cherished song symbolized by the American flag. Bang up job.

 

 

Stallworth bemoaned the President’s repeated criticism of Colin Kaepernick and other players who took a knee during the national anthem supposedly not to protest the American flag or the country writ large, but draw attention to social justice causes, police brutality and the country’s racist past.

“Well, I think the players and they've a lot of them have expressed their feelings through Twitter. They're — they’re not going to just sit down and take this from the President. They're not going to sit down and take this from the NFL,” Stallworth opined.

Concerning the topic of free speech, the guy who (formerly) held an ugly view that was protected by the First Amendment lectured those upset by the kneeling as hypocrites:

[B]ut I think the interesting part to me, Chris, is that you look at this issue as the height of hypocrisy from folks on the other side of this arguing who profess to love the constitution, who profess to be freedom-loving patriots. They'll go to the ends of the Earth to defend and find all types of justifications for the Second Amendment even when our babies are in their classrooms being murdered. But when it comes to the First Amendment, they're silent. 

Matthews swooped in and asserted that “[t]he First Amendment's not for popular speech.” However, the First Amendment directly stated that “Congress shall make no law” related to the freedom of speech and, last time I checked, the NFL is not a governmental institution and thus is able (for the most part) to create its own code of conduct.

Again, despite Stallworth insisting in September 2014 that he was no longer a 9/11 truther, the irony can’t be lost as he later told Matthews that while he’s upset about the NFL policy, he’s more concerned about a broader pattern of behavior that’s “flirting with authoritarianism”:

You know, goes back obviously to the President and how he's used the Oval Office you know, to kind of attack any of his perceived adversaries. He’s — even our own institutions the FBI, DOJ, it's just — you know, I'm more concerned honestly about how we — how the President and this administration has been flirting with authoritarianism. The President is, you know, buddies with Rodrigo Duterte out of the Philippines, he's buddies and he’s said very complimentary things about Vladimir Putin. He said the same things about Kim Jong-un and he's obviously good friends with Erdogan who, you know, we all know is another head of state that's an authoritarian. 

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on May 24, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
May 24, 2018
7:35 p.m. Eastern

DONTE STALLWORTH: Well, I think the players and they've a lot of them have expressed their feelings through Twitter. They're — they’re not going to just sit down and take this from the President. They're not going to sit down and take this from the NFL. I think that the President has, you know, attacked NFL players consistently since last season. Even before that when Colin first decided to take a knee back in 2016, the players know that the President you know, has been attacking them and will at all costs, but I think the interesting part to me, Chris, is that you look at this issue as the height of hypocrisy from folks on the other side of this arguing who profess to love the constitution, who profess to be freedom-loving patriots. They'll go to the ends of the Earth to defend and find all types of justifications for the Second Amendment even when our babies are in their classrooms being murdered. But when it comes to the First Amendment, they're silent. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS: The First Amendment's not for popular speech. We don't need to protect people say popular things about our country. It's when you say something that rubs people the wrong way is when you need the freedom. 

STALLWORTH: Yeah you do and that's the — that’s the founding principles of this country, right? You look at obviously the Constitution, it's the very First Amendment. Obviously, the Founding Fathers thought that was probably the most important thing that they could institute in our country going forward from being — you know, from country's inception. But again, you know, the players know what the NFL is — is doing here. They're obviously kowtowing to the President. The President has a beef going back with the NFL for decades now because they wouldn't let him buy an NFL, so he's done as much as he can to attack NFL players, but again, you see Sterling Brown, what happened to him, the Milwaukee Bucks rookie where he was tased by police officers. That is precisely why NFL players have chosen to kneel. 

(....)

7:39 p.m. Eastern

STALLWORTH: You know, goes back obviously to the President and how he's used the Oval Office you know, to kind of attack any of his perceived adversaries. He’s — even our own institutions the FBI, DOJ, it's just — you know, I'm more concerned honestly about how we — how the President and this administration has been flirting with authoritarianism. The President is, you know, buddies with Rodrigo Duterte out of the Philippines, he's buddies and he’s said very complimentary things about Vladimir Putin. He said the same things about Kim Jong-un and he's obviously good friends with Erdogan who, you know, we all know is another head of state that's an authoritarian. 

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