Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has walked back a statement he made earlier in the week about passing a law that would require NFL players to stand for the national anthem.
Abbott first made football-related headlines this week when he went on Glenn Beck’s radio show to say that the NFL “needs to concentrate on playing football and get the heck out of politics.” His comments were in response to a previous league statement regarding a Texas bathroom bill targeting transgender people, which said that the NFL would need to consider such a discriminatory law when awarding events such as the Super Bowl to the state.
Abbott followed up that Glenn Beck interview with a Fox News appearance, where he tried to deflect by saying that the NFL shouldn’t have a stance on state politics when it has its own set of problems:
“The NFL has coddled its players who refused to stand for the national anthem.... Imagine this, if the NFL decides to come down on the state of Texas, I might just pass a bill here in the state of Texas mandating that all NFL players have to stand and put their hand on the heart when the national anthem is played. If the NFL really wants to solve this problem about bathrooms for people who are transgender, the NFL should impose on all of its teams to put their own bathrooms into their stadiums to accommodate those with transgenders, as opposed to trying to dictate to states what laws they must comply with.”
Yesterday, Abbott walked back his bizarre (and completely unconstitutional) hypothetical bill, with a spokesman telling the Dallas Morning News that it wasn’t serious: “It was intentional hyperbole to make a point: demonstrating the NFL’s own shortcoming of how they are disconnecting with their fan base by allowing players to disrespect the U.S. flag.”
Because, yes, that was absolutely a relevant point in this discussion. (Though it does make sense that someone who used the phrase “accommodate those with transgenders” would want to move the conversation away from transgender issues and on to something he is better acquainted with, such as ridiculous bills.)