- The Washington Times - Friday, June 16, 2017

Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports 1 says comments by ESPN’s Max Kellerman on playing the national anthem at sporting events are emblematic of a “far left-wing” desire to “overthrow everything we used to agree upon.”

ESPN’s “First Take” made headlines on Thursday when its hosts revisited the national anthem protests by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Mr. Kellerman likened Mr. Kaepernick’s decision to boxing legend Muhammad Ali’s stance on Vietnam.

“Neither Muhammad Ali nor Colin Kaepernick went out looking for a protest. It came to them,” Mr. Kellerman said. “You do not have to stand for the national anthem, and even if it was a rule that you [must stand], is that Colin Kaepernick injecting politics in the NFL? No. That’s the NFL injecting politics by playing the national anthem and putting pressure on you to stand for it in the first place.”

Mr. Whitlock told Fox Business Network on Friday that Mr. Kellerman, although a “dear friend,” is “one of these Ivy League guys that likes to get a little buzz and overthink things.”

“We used to agree on certain principles here in this country,” Mr. Whitlock told FBN’s Stuart Varney. “Sports bought into the narrative and affixed itself to the narrative that America is good and there are certain values and principles that we believe here in America that we have baked into sports culture. And playing the national anthem at sporting events has been a long tradition that goes well beyond the NFL and football. And now we have people like Max, a good friend of mine, but he’s far left-wing; there are people that just want to overthrow everything and everything that we used to agree upon.”

Mr. Kellerman’s co-host, Stephen A. Smith, said during Thursday’s show that Mr. Kaepernick seemed oblivious to the potential consequences of his actions.

“Let’s be real about something here,” Mr. Smith said. “There is such a thing as consequences […] so you got to know what you’re sacrificing,” Smith said. “Muhammad Ali knew exactly what was going to happen to him. It appears that Colin Kaepernick did not know that.”

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