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Luke messer interview

Indiana GOP Senate candidate circulates petition against NFL over ‘Please Stand’ ad

Rep. Luke Messer, who is running in a field of GOP candidates that includes fellow Rep. Todd Rokita and former state Rep. Mike Braun, accused the NFL of “caving to liberal pressure” by refusing to run the print ad from American Veterans and “siding with those who disrespect our flag over the men and women who defend our country.”

“This is a big mistake,” his online petition reads. “Join your fellow citizens DEMANDING that the NFL air the ad.”

Mr. Messer has hardened his tone in the emotional debate, which started raging in 2016 when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem in a silent protest against police brutality in minority communities.

Others athletes soon followed suit, sparking a debate over an athlete’s First Amendment free speech rights, and prompting President Trump to charge the players should be fired for disrespecting the country and military personnel.

During an appearance on MSNBC around that time, Mr. Messer said players have a right to express themselves.