Kyrefe Harper, a senior at KSU (left) majoring in accouting, and Tahir Upshaw, a junior, (center) majoring in mechanical engineering, speak with counter-protester Neil Wolin, a junior (right) majoring in professional sales, at KSU on October 19, 2017. A group of Kennesaw State University students are protesting in support of the KSU cheerleaders who want to take a knee in protest of police brutality during the national anthem. Rebecca Breyer
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

More Georgia politicians taking sides on anthem protest

More Georgia politicians are taking sides on protests during the national anthem at football games in light of guidance from the state attorney general’s office that notes constitutional protection for students who take a knee to raise awareness of police misconduct.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp released a statement Thursday saying while he supports constitutional free speech rights, “because you have the right to protest, doesn't make it right.”

The attorney general’s office sent the guidance to the University System of Georgia after five Kennesaw State University cheerleaders began taking a knee during the anthem at football games to protest police misconduct and racial inequality, following similar actions of some pro football players. The university system released the guidance Wednesday.

Attorney General Chris Carr told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a statement Thursday while “public university students kneeling during the national anthem is protected by the Constitution, I want to be clear that I find it disrespectful to our nation, to our first responders and to our troops.”

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, a Republican candidate for governor, has said he’s “baffled” by the criticism of President Donald Trump, who has blasted players for such protests. Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans, the two leading Democratic candidates for governor, have defended the free speech expression by those protesting during the anthem.

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