Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter and Iraq War veteran Tim Kennedy said NFL players have a right to protest, but during the national anthem is "not the right time."

NFL players continued to protest during "The Star-Spangled Banner" on Thursday night as the league began the first full week of its 2018 preseason.

Some athletes held their fists in the air, while two Miami Dolphins players decided to kneel, despite the controversy surrounding the action.

On "Fox & Friends," Kennedy acknowledged that players "unquestionably" have their First Amendment right to protest, and there are certainly issues related to police brutality and racial inequality that must be addressed.

He took issue, however, with people "insulting" the American flag and anthem.

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"I guess we're lost," Kennedy said. "We're a split nation [with] people on both sides of the topic."

He said players could benefit from attempting to understand why the flag and anthem mean so much to the men and women who have served and sacrificed for the United States.

"To have the national anthem come on and you use that as an opportunity to disrespect the flag while trying to promote some issues, it's the wrong time," Kennedy said.

"That is a conversation that should be happening, but not at the expense and not at the cost of insulting one of the most important pieces of who we are as Americans."

Watch more above.

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