Civil rights activists slam Greenville pastor over 'ignorant' NFL protest comments

Civil rights activists and religious leaders in Greenville appeared in a press conference on Oct. 10 and slammed a local pastor for her comments on the controversial NFL player protests which they said were "uninformed" and "ignorant."

(REUTERS / Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and teammate 49ers free safety Eric Reid (35) kneel during the playing of the national anthem before a NFL game against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi's Stadium.

On Tuesday, activists had a press conference to discuss the various issues that they thought was the cause of the NFL protests. They said the controversial kneeling during the national anthem was not all about disrespecting the U.S. national flag or the military but was done to shed light on the police brutality that African Americans suffer today, WYFF News 4 relayed.

The news conference on Tuesday was a response to Redemption Church pastor Hope Carpenter's comments, which some deemed as "uninformed" and "ignorant," against the NFL protests. Pastors United for Action chairman James Nesbitt said Greenville County Schools were taking away the teachers' right to a peaceful protest by punishing them for not standing during the national anthem.

Beth Brotherton, a representative from Greenville County School, denied Nesbitt's allegation. She said school employees were not supposed to express their political stance when they are on duty.

"Employees that are on the clock would not take part in a protest," Brotherton explained. "They would not face consequences. We just simply ask they would remove themselves from the situation. Like if they were a coach we would ask them to stay in the locker room a little longer."

Meanwhile, a memo was issued by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Oct. 10 that said their organization believes that "everyone should stand for the National Anthem." He also mentioned the league had already spoken to a number of players and the NFLPA leadership regarding the issue and will talk about it in a meeting next week, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The memo, according to USA Today Sports, said the kneeling controversy threatens to destroy the unity of the league, players, and their fans. Goodell expressed respect for the opinions of their players on social issues but maintained the league's intention to honor the national flag and the country.