Sunday on MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation,” host Al Sharpton said NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem during protest should be allowed to because “athletes are contracted to play the game,” not “for the preliminary ceremonies.” Sharpton said, “When an athlete is contracted, they’re contracted to play the game. They’re not contracted for the preliminary ceremonies. So as I recall, when Colin Kaepernick and others took a knee, they did not do it in the middle of the game, they did it during the preliminaries, which was saluting the flag, and some would argue, I would, that it’s patriotic to also do things that would protest, to show the country that it ought to live up to the flag they’re saluting. It has nothing to do with what they were contracted for, because when the game started, they were on the field doing what they’re supposed to do.” He added the NFL’s new rule stating teams will be fined if players kneel during the national anthem “is “unfair and clearly violating people’s free speech rights.” Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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