ESPN's Max Kellerman causes stir by saying NFL 'injecting politics' by playing national anthem – Sporting News

ESPN’s Max Kellerman is being criticized by conservative pundits and others for saying the NFL is “injecting politics” into the sport by playing the national anthem before games.

The “First Take” co-host made the comment on Thursday’s show. During a discussion about Seahawks’ star Michael Bennett comparing Colin Kaepernick to Muhammad Ali, Kellerman said Kaepernick “did not go looking for a protest. It came to him.”

“He was asked to stand for the national anthem,” Kellerman said. “You do not have to stand for the national anthem. And even if it it was a rule that you did, 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.”

Conservative news and commentary websites and Twitter users have pounced on the comment, pointing out that it reinforces the perception that ESPN has a liberal bias.

“No wonder ESPN’s ratings continue to decline,” wrote columnist Leah Barkoukis.

Ryan Fournier, chairman of Chairman of @TrumpStudents who has almost 60,000 Twitter followers, tweeted, “@maxkellerman The National Anthem has nothing to do with politics, it has to do with our freedom and our beautiful country!”

.@maxkellerman The National Anthem has nothing to do with politics, it has to do with our freedom and our beautiful country!

— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) June 16, 2017

Fox Sports 1 commentator Jason Whitlock also ripped the comment, telling Fox Business Network that Kellerman is a good friend, but that his comments represent a “far left-wing” desire to “overthrow everything we used to agree upon.”

“We used to agree on certain principles here in this country,” Whitlock said. “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

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