Actor, director, musician, and 7th-level Aikido black belt master Steven Seagal said he strongly supports free speech but does not think a football game is the venue for NFL players to impose their "political views" on their fans, adding that he believes it is "disgusting" and an "outrage."
Seagal also said that people who think Russia "fixed" the 2016 presidential election are being fed "astronomical propaganda" to create a "diversion," when America and Russia should seek common ground and work toward being "great allies."
Seagal, who has starred in more than 50 films, including Under Siege, Marked for Death, and Machete, made his remarks during a Sept. 27 interview (from Moscow) on Good Morning Britain, which is hosted by Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.
During the interview, Piers Morgan asked, “When you see this ongoing debate right now about patriotism, the American flag, the anthem, black football players taking the knee as a mark of protest about racial division and injustice in America, do you agree with [President] Trump that it’s disrespectful or do you think, actually, going to one knee is not an entirely disrespectful way of making a point?”
Seagal said, “I guess really what I’d like to say is this: I believe in free speech, I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I don’t agree that they should hold the United States of America, or the world, hostage by taking a venue where people are tuning in to watch a football game and imposing their political views."
Actor and producer Steven Seagal on Good Morning Britain, Sept. 27, 2017. (Screenshot: GMB)
"I think it’s outrageous," he said. "I think it’s a joke. It’s disgusting. I respect the American flag and I myself have risked my life countless times for the American flag. I don’t understand or agree with this kind of behavior. I think it’s an outrage.”
Seagal, along with his other activities, is a a reserve deputy chief in the Jefferson Parish, Louisiana sheriff's office. He owns a home in Louisiana.
Morgan then asked Seagal, “There will be some people, Steven, who’ll be watching this interview and hear you saying that and think you sound like a great patriotic guy, and also see you in Moscow and being very complimentary of Vladimir Putin, who many Americans believe fixed the U.S. election, which is why Donald Trump became president. How do you juggle this? Many Americans are very unhappy about this."
Seagal said, “Why don’t we really be honest here, Piers? Let’s be really honest. Every country is involved in espionage. Every single country. The Americans spy. The British spy. The Russians spy. We all spy on each other. Let’s be honest."
"However, for anyone to think that Vladimir Putin had anything to do with fixing the elections or even that the Russians have that kind of technology is stupid," said Seagal. "We have a situation here, really, where all of this is happening, in my opinion, form astronomical propaganda. And this kind of propaganda is really a diversion – creating a diversion so the people of America won’t really see what’s happening."
Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump. (Screenshot: CNN.com)
"I think most of the people in America and most of the people in Russia want to like each other," he said. "We need each other. Russia and America should be great allies. That’s the way it should be."
Piers Morgan replied, “I think that’s absolutely right. I agree with you.”