Leaders in a small North Texas city are pulling back the welcome mat when it comes to Colin Kaepernick and U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
The Reno City Council this week passed a resolution saying it’s disrespectful to kneel during the national anthem and that comments on the topic made by O’Rourke — the El Paso Democrat challenging Republican Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate seat he holds — are false.
“The City Council has declared that it is disrespectful toward, and dishonors the sacrifice of our veterans, service members, and first responders of the United States of America to kneel during the National Anthem, a time during which all should stand to recognize and honor the sacrifice they have made to our country,” the resolution stated.
Beyond that, the council weighed in on what O’Rourke said when he spoke last month about football players — such as Kaepernick, who recently became one of the faces of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign — kneeling during the anthem.
“Non-violently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching these games, they take a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this problem to ensure that we fix it,” O’Rourke said during a town hall meeting. “I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights, anytime, anywhere, or any place.”
Reno’s resolution states that O’Rourke’s comments are “false.”
“The Reno City Council considers kneeling during the National Anthem of the United States of America not only un-American but to be one of the highest forms of disrespect anyone can show to the sacrifice and service of our country’s military members, veterans and first responders,” the resolution states.
O’Rourke responded Friday afternoon.
“I am grateful to everyone who has put their life on the line for this country, every member of law enforcement and every one of our first responders,” he said. “I am grateful to all who would engage in discussion and action to ensure the full civil rights of every American.
“I am grateful to the City Council of Reno for taking part in this discussion.”
Reno, with a population of around 2,500, is about 25 miles northwest of Fort Worth, in Parker County.
The elected body in Reno is the latest to weigh in on the nationwide controversy over kneeling during the national anthem.
“There has been a little negative feedback, but I believe it is because most have missed the point of what we are saying,” Mayor Eric Hunter told the Star-Telegram Friday morning.
O’Rourke’s comments about the national anthem have become an issue in the Senate race.
Ellen DeGeneres invited him on her daytime talk show after hearing his point of view.
Cruz, meanwhile, took O’Rourke’s comments and created a digital ad with them, comparing them to a veteran’s point of view.
“I gave two legs for this country. I’m not able to stand,” Vietnam veteran Tim Lee said in the ad. “But I sure expect you to stand for me when the national anthem is being played.”
The nine actions the Reno City Council suggested in their resolution that are “more American than kneeling during the anthem”:
▪ “To give one’s life in the defense of freedom or for the protection of others as military, police, fire or any first responder have done and continue to do daily.
▪ Serving in our nation’s military to defend our country, our citizens and our freedoms.
▪ Serving as a police fire emt or any other first responder
▪ Supporting our military and first responders as the spouse or family member.
▪ Supporting our military and first responders.
▪ Respecting our veterans and honoring their sacrifice by standing for the National Anthem.
▪ Defending those who can’t defend themselves.
▪ Showing thanks a veteran or first responder for their dedication and service to country or community.
▪ To peaceably protest real injustices without disrespecting and dishonoring the sacrifice of our veterans, service members and their families.”