Ted Cruz's main opponent in senate race has a powerful response to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem

Ted Cruz's main opponent in senate race has a powerful response to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem

One of the debates that has been raging in the United States for some time is the question of whether or not it is disrespectful for NFL players to "take a knee" during the national anthem.

It all started with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled during the anthem in order to make a statement about racial injustice and police brutality in his country. It was his belief, and that of those who joined in his nonviolent protest, that they could peacefully stand against these injustices here, where the whole country can witness their actions.

Other NFL players joined in, taking a knee and refusing to stand for the national anthem at their games - and it caused a fair amount of backlash from those that believe it is disrespectful to the country, the flag, and military veterans. There was a country song protesting the protest, and Donald Trump called those who protested "sons of b****es".

While there are many who have argued from both sides of the issue, a recent speech made by Beto O'Rourke, a Democrat running for office in Texas, has gone viral. When one audience member at a recent campaign stop asked him whether he thought taking a knee during the anthem was disrespectful, he said no, adding "I can think of nothing more American".

Offering several examples of how peaceful protests for civil rights brought about significant social change in the United States over the last century, he put forward the notion that Kaepernick and those that have followed in his example are doing the same:

"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.

"That is why they are doing it. And I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully, standing up, or taking a knee, for your rights, anytime, anywhere, in any place."

The response has quickly gone viral, once the clip made its way around Twitter.

However, it hasn't changed the mind of Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who O'Rourke will be challenging for the Senate later this year. "When Beto O’Rourke says he can’t think of anything more American — well, I got to tell you, I can," Cruz responded.

Cruz and O'Rourke are locked in a tight race at the moment, and while Cruz is ahead 49 to 43 - according to a Quinnipiac University poll - O'Rourke reportedly has momentum on his side. The state has been dominated by Republican votes for over two decades, but these recent polls may be showing a significant change for the Lone Star State.

Now that this footage has gone viral, and Cruz' response hit the internet, we may see things change further. We'll have to see which way the public lean on this, and other issues, in November.