At Chiefs camp, Missouri Gov. Parson tackles issue of NFL national anthem protests

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- At the annual ‘Military Appreciation Day’ to wrap up the Kansas City Chiefs training camp, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Chiefs season-ticket holder, beamed at the opportunity to spend some quality time with the players and coaches.

“As a diehard Chiefs fan, it’s even a bigger day to get to be here and see some of the people I’ve admired for years,” Parson said.

But with the issue of NFL players continuing to protest the National Anthem before games still causing controversy, it wasn’t long before Parson was asked about the players who still kneel (or sit) during the National Anthem.

“It’s not something I agree with, but those players have a right to express themselves,” said Parson, a U.S. Army veteran and former Polk County Sheriff. “But I also think it’s important that the league is working on that. The Chiefs organization are well aware of that. That’s up to them to handle that on those issues.”

Kansas City Chiefs sit during the national anthem before a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center on September 24, 2017, in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The exchange with reporters at training camp grew testy when Parson was asked in follow-up questions if he knew why the players continued to protest the anthem.

“Yeah I know exactly why they’re doing it,” Parson said.  “I told you I have my beliefs and whether I stand and whether you should stand or not for the national anthem. I done answered that question.”

Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid said Tuesday that he believes ongoing dialogue between the league and the player’s association will help to ease tensions on the issue.

“I’m glad they’re talking about it, and whatever they come up with, both parties, I think it’s just a win-win,” Reid said.

Last spring, the NFL instituted a new policy that allows players to remain in the locker room during the national anthem. Any player who sits or kneels during the anthem can be fined.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said he's proud to support the military.

“As NFL players, we’ve always supported the military,” Mahomes said. “That’s something that never changes. That’s something we’ve always supported those people in everything they sacrifice for us.”