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DES MOINES - Professional athletes should seek positive outlets for change rather than kneel during the national anthem at NFL games and show 'disrespect” for the U.S. flag and the Americans who died to protect freedom, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Monday.
'While I respect the First Amendment, I just think it is so disrespectful to the men and women who have served, and I just would encourage them to get out there and do something,” Reynolds said in response to a question about the widespread demonstrations that occurred at NFL games Sunday.
'Don't take a knee. Get out there and make a difference. Engage. Go into these cities, run for office, support a candidate that you think stands for your beliefs, but let's not disrespect the men and women who have served to allow us to have the freedom and liberty that we enjoy every day,” Reynolds said during her weekly news conference.
The focus on pregame protests took center stage after President Donald Trump last week was critical of pro athletes who take a knee during 'The Star Spangled Banner,” and pressured NFL team owners to take disciplinary action against them.
In a rebuke, players on several teams knelt, locked arms or stayed in their locker rooms in a show of solidarity while the national anthem played before kickoff at their games Sunday.
Much of the focus of the player protests has been over disparate treatment of minorities, particularly African Americans. Trump has insisted his criticisms of the players who protest are not about race.
In a series of tweets Monday, the president praised football fans who booed NFL players taking a knee.
Last week, he demanded that NFL owners 'fire or suspend” players who kneel during the national anthem, using a profane term to describe players who do. Trump also called for fans to boycott games if the protests continue and praised the stance of several NASCAR owners who made clear that drivers and others could be fired if they don't stand during the national anthem.
During her news conference, Reynolds said she was raised to respect the flag and found the take-a-knee protests to be disrespectful to the men and women who serve in the military.
' ... I just don't think it's teaching our young people. They look up to these individuals and I just think it's important that we respect the flag and what it stands for,” the Republican governor said.
'I was raised to pay respect to the flag. That is a symbol that stands for the men and women who have put their life on the line to protect the liberty and freedom that we have an opportunity to enjoy every single day.” she said. 'I've raised my children to respect that flag, to stand, to put their hand across their heart and to recognize those sacrifices that have been made and I believe they're raising their children with that same belief.”
The governor traveled Monday to Saydel High School in Des Moines to urge high school seniors to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The window to file for the 2018-19 school year opens Sunday.
Completing a FAFSA is required to qualify for federal Pell grants, federal student loans, federal work-study programs and most forms of state financial aid. About two-thirds of Iowa's high school seniors file the form each year, with low-income students among the least likely to file.
Reynolds also urged Iowa school districts to join Iowa College Aid's FAFSA Completion Initiative, a partnership that helps high schools identify which seniors still need to file. Saydel is the newest of 114 districts participating.
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