Fox News host defends NFL players kneeling (video)

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On Monday, Fox News host Shepard Smith gave a candid defense of NFL players kneeling for the national anthem during this past weekend’s games, saying President Trump’s criticisms are merely a “play to his base” and that the demonstration by players isn’t meant to disrespect the flag.

“Of course, they’re not protesting the national anthem. That’s not what they’re doing and we’re complicit,” Smith said during his Monday show.

At a rally in Alabama last week, Trump said players who kneel for the national anthem should be fired, calling them “sons of b******.”

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b**ch off the field right now. He is fired,'” Trump said to a packed crowd at the rally Friday.

While roughly 14 NFL players, headlined by controversial former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, made gestures of protest during the pregame tribute before last weekend, Trump’s comments inspired more than 300 to do so on Sunday, including all but one player on the Pittsburgh Steelers team.

Smith gave a cutting diagnosis of what Trump was trying to do, sounding like someone of the liberal media.

“It’s very clear that for his base, this is the red meat of all red meat. Because they’re able to reframe this. They’re able to say, ‘Oh, they’re attacking the national anthem, they’re attacking the troops. They’re attacking the flag,’” Smith observed.

“None of which they’re doing. They’re not doing any of that. They’re upset about racial injustice in the country and they’re upset about the things that the president has said, and yet he’s able to turn it around for his base. Isn’t this all a play to his base, and could it possibly be so that they don’t notice there is no health care and North Korea’s the biggest mess since the Cold War?” he went on to assert.

RELATED: On Monday morning, Fox News host Brian Kilmeade lashed out at Trump for his remarks about NFL.

WATCH SMITH:

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