September 26, 2017 / 3:00 PM / a year ago

U.S. House Republican speaker Ryan opposes protests during anthem

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House Republican Speaker Paul Ryan told journalists on Tuesday that athletes who protest during the national anthem have the right to do so, but that he believes such demonstrations should not take place during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) attends a news conference with House Republican leaders after a closed conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

“People are clearly within their rights to express themselves how they see fit. My own view though is that we shouldn’t do it on the anthem. The national anthem, our flag, and the people who defend it, represent it, that should be celebrated everywhere and always, and that’s my opinion,” Ryan said.

U.S. President Donald Trump ramped up his fight with the National Football League earlier on Tuesday, calling on the popular league to ban players from kneeling in protest at games while the national anthem is played.

Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Eric Walsh

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