Jack Nicklaus on national anthem protests: ‘There is a time and place’

Chris Condon/PGA TOUR

Jack Nicklaus on national anthem protests: ‘There is a time and place’

PGA Tour

Jack Nicklaus on national anthem protests: ‘There is a time and place’

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Jack Nicklaus is an all-around sports fan, and watched with interest over the weekend as NFL players and teams displayed various forms of demonstrations during the playing of the country’s national anthem. He has a grandson, Nick O’Leary, who plays for the Buffalo Bills.

Nicklaus, 77, on hand at Liberty National for the 12th playing of the Presidents Cup – he captained the U.S. team four times – offered his opinion on the subject when asked about it on Wednesday during a corporate appearance for Rolex, a sponsor of his for 50 years:

“I’ve probably got a lot of thoughts on that. I suppose everybody has a right to display their first-amendment rights. I don’t think there is any squawk about that. But I think there is a time and place. I personally don’t think half the fellows that are probably doing it understand what they’re doing. I don’t think that the sporting field is the right place.

“I know the President (Donald Trump) got involved in it. Wish he hadn’t. I know some of the owners who probably felt one way had to support their players, so you get a very confusing answer as to what you’ve got.

“I personally have always felt like, no matter where I went in the world, no matter where I played golf, whenever the national anthem was played for any country I always stood and took my hat off and respected that anthem, and what it was, and what it meant to the people that were there. Every time the national anthem is played, I get – and I have for 60, 70 years – still get a chill up and down my spine. Every time it’s played. I think it supports, (and) honors, the meaning of people who have given their lives, who have given their time and effort for our country, and they need to be respected for that.

“I think there’s a time and place, and I think they’ll figure that out over time. I don’t believe the national anthem is the place to do that – but I can’t fault them because it’s their right (to protest).

“It’s a very difficult question to answer when you ask me. Everyone who answers that question cannot properly answer it. They don’t want to disrespect the rights of the kids. And you don’t want to disrespect our country. So how do you answer it?

“Does it tell you that Alejandro Villanueva (the Pittsburgh Steelers lineman who stood alone on the field while the anthem played, with the rest of his team in the locker room on Sunday) is the best-selling jersey since last Sunday? Does that tell you what people think?”

Latest

More Golfweek
Home