Hansen began his remarks by noting that when former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first kneeled last year, not many cared until Trump got involved, calling “those players names I never thought I’d live long enough to hear a president say—and now everybody cares.”
Hansen criticized the president for calling “peaceful protest” an “American right,” just not counting this one.
“There’s the problem,” Hansen said. “Any protest that you don’t agree with is a protest that should be stopped.”
“Martin Luther King should have marched across a different bridge. Young black Americans should've gone to a different college and found a different lunch counter, and college kids in the ’60s had no right to protest an immoral war.”
Hansen remembered his own military service during the Vietnam War and the pain he suffered.
“But I served anyway,” he said. “My best friend was killed in Vietnam. Carroll Meyer will be 18 years old forever, and he did not die so that you could decide who is a patriot and who loves America more.”
Hansen honed in on his central argument about why athletes have every right to kneel.
“The young black athletes are not disrespecting America or the military by taking a knee during the anthem,” he said. “They are respecting the best thing about America. It’s a dog whistle to the racist among us to say otherwise.
“They—and all of us–should protest how black Americans are treated in this country, and if you don’t think white privilege is a fact, you don’t understand America.”
He said it has not gone unnoticed that Trump speaks out against marginalized peoples, yet remains silent for days about the “white men who marched under a Nazi flag in Charlottesville.”
“Maybe we all need to read the Constitution again,” Hansen said. “Our forefathers… respected the country they fought for and founded a great deal more than the self-proclaimed patriots who are simply hypocrites.”
Watch Hansen’s entire emotional speech below.