Michael Strahan Says NFL's Decision to Not Punish Players Who Protest Is 'Smart'

Michael Strahan also said "the reason for the protest has been completely lost" during an appearance on Ellen Tuesday

Michael Strahan says that the intended message of the ongoing NFL national anthem protests has been overshadowed amid the ensuing controversy.

“I think the crazy thing is, the reason for the protest has been completely lost in all of this,” Strahan, a former defensive end for the New York Giants, told Ellen DeGeneres during an appearance on her show Tuesday.

Continued the now-Good Morning America host, “It’s kind of like, ‘Look over here and we’re gonna make it really what it isn’t.’ It’s about racial inequality, it’s not about the flag, it’s not about disrespecting soldiers.”

“I just wish that people would see the real reason behind it,” Strahan, 45, said.

NFL owners and representatives from the NFL Players Association recently met with NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell to discuss the protests, which have led some — including President Trump — to call for a boycott of the organization.

Despite the outcry, it was decided that there would be no punishment for players who choose to take part in the peaceful protests by kneeling or sitting during the national anthem at games. However, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he hopes the number of players who decide to protest would drop to “zero.”

“That was one of the things, they thought they were going to put a mandate in that you have to stand up and that you weren’t allowed to kneel,” he said. “And I think that would have gone against exactly what they said they were going to do. They said, ‘I support the players, I support the cause.’ But then if you did how could you tell them that they couldn’t kneel? It was a smart decision on their part. And it’s your right — you have a right to protest.”

Speaking of former 49ers player Colin Kaepernick, who originated the movement, Strahan had nothing but praise, noting that the athlete is continuing to fight for what he believes in despite being unsigned to a team.

“I really believe that this guy has gone out of his way to make a change in the lives of so many people that he did not know,” said Strahan. “He put his career on the line for that and that’s commendable to me.”

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