The man fighting to take Senator Ted Cruz's seat has come out in defense of players kneeling against injustice and racism. 

USA Today reports U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke is one of a handful of politicians praising the efforts of NFL players taking a knee. The Texas native has gone viral recently for his statements regarding the ongoing NFL anthem protests started nearly two years ago by former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick

The video posted by NowThis has made him a national figure many are hoping to be a part of the political blue wave. When asked whether the protests were disrespectful during a campaign event in Houston last week, the hopeful U.S. senator said he believes the protests are part of the American tradition of free speech and protest. 

“My short answer is no; I don't think it's disrespectful," O’Rourke said. "Here's my longer answer, but I'm gonna try to make sure that I get this right because I think it's a really important question. And reasonable people can disagree on this issue. Let's begin there. And it makes them no less American to come down on a different conclusion on this issue, right?"

The issue was raised over the weekend when current Senator Ted Cruz took a shot at O'Rourke during an event in Corpus Christi. “When Beto O’Rourke says he can’t think of anything more American [than players taking a knee], well I got to tell you, I can,” Cruz said.

Cruz's dismissal of the protests falls in line with others on the Right, according to The Washington Post. However, O'Rourke is sticking to his guns despite many in Texas would side against the players. Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott faced backlash for not supporting the protests and echoing the pro-national anthem sentiments of the Cowboys' fans.

O'Rourke, who is currently U.S. Representative for Texas' 16th Congressional District, believes the protests call attention to the unfair treatment of black people in America.

"Peaceful, non-violent protests, including taking a knee at a football game to point out that black men, unarmed, black teenagers, unarmed and black children, unarmed, are being killed at a frightening level right now, including by members of law enforcement, without accountability, and without justice," he added.

"… And so 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," she said. "That is why they are doing it. And I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights, any time, anywhere, in any place.”

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