Mike Huckabee said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sounded like a nagging parent rather than the chairman of a sports league.
Goodell said he wants players to stand for the national anthem, but will not force them to do so.
Huckabee said Goodell "acted like a parent who says to his child you really ought to eat your vegetables, but I'm not going to make you. And, if you'd rather eat ice cream, go ahead because there's no consequences."
He called Goodell's statement "worthless" and added that it showed the NFL "has no rules" on the matter.
"Maybe [players] can go out and protest domestic violence," he added, pointing to the elevated statistics of that crime against players.
He said that if players really wanted to effect social change, they should forfeit their salaries and run for office.
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