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Rob Ryan speaks out against national anthem protests in NFL

Former NFL coach Rob Ryan on Tuesday spoke out against the national anthem protests that have been occurring before NFL games since last season when Colin Kaepernick started the movement with kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Ryan stated his case by arguing it was time for national pride and to “stand behind” President Donald Trump.

Appearing on FOX Sports’ “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Ryan specifically addressed Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who recently announced he would sit for the anthem throughout the 2017 NFL season.

“I think with Michael Bennett, he is somebody that you love to be around,” Ryan said. “He gives so much. He gives everything to the team. He’s a tremendous football player and a tremendous person. I think you have to have that talk with him. I think people are getting this all wrong. I think the national anthem is for our entire country.

“My father served in the Korean War. I was brought up to respect the flag, respect the veterans. They’re giving up their life for this flag. I think the whole country needs a dose of, hey, let’s be proud of our country. Let’s stand behind our president. Let’s do things. Do we have other issues? Absolutely we do. Now’s not the time to do that.”

The anthem protests are of course a hot-button issue in the NFL. Not only has Bennett taken to sitting during the anthem, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch did so as well before last week’s preseason game, as have a handful of other players.

Ryan, who was fired along with brother Rex Ryan last December by the Buffalo Bills, suggests the onus in on coaches to help steer players in the right direction, at least the way he sees things.

“I think that’s not the time and place to do that,” Ryan said. “I think you really have to have a heart-to-heart with these players and say, ‘Look, can you do this in another forum?’ I really think you need to.”