CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says he "strongly disagrees" with NFL players protesting during the national anthem.
The Republican, a former businessman, is part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. During Sunday's game in Chicago, all but one of the Steelers stayed in the locker room during the anthem in protest of President Donald Trump's criticism of NFL players.
Rauner says in a Monday statement that the protesters are "disrespecting" the country's foundations and veterans. He says he "cannot and will not condone such behavior." He adds that players have the freedom of expression and can "choose to be disrespectful."
About 200 players nationwide kneeled or sat during the anthem Sunday.
Among other things, Trump has called for protesting players to be fired. Many players, owners and commissioners have chastised Trump for his divisive remarks.