US actor Steven Seagal has offered his unequivocal views on the ‘take a knee row’ that is dividing America while defending Vladimir Putin, who is accused of trying to influence the outcome of his home country’s presidential elections.
The Michigan-born action-movie star, who became a Russian citizen last year, was speaking to Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain when he weighed into whether National Football League (NFL) players should be protesting over racism and police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem.
For context, he was making his point via a video link from Moscow. In short, the ‘Under Siege’ star doesn’t like what he sees from afar.
“I believe in free speech, I believe that everyone’s 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.
“I think it’s outrageous, I think it’s a joke, it’s disgusting. I respect the American flag. I myself have risked my life countless times for the American flag and I don’t understand or agree with this kind of behaviour. I think it’s an outrage.”
He was also pressed about his views on whether the Russian government attempted to influence the result of the US election that saw Donald Trump sweep to power. To that end, the FBI is investigating possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Not that Seagal is having any of it, dismissing “all the propaganda flying particularly from America about Russia”. That Putin - “one of the great world leaders” - is orchestrating any of it is laughable, suggests the actor.
“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. We have a situation here where really all of this is happening, in my opinion, from astronomical propaganda. This kind of propaganda is really a diversion, creating a diversion so people from the United States of America won’t really see what’s happening.”
Just to be clear, sports stars taking a stand against injustice is an “outrage” and disrespects the American flag, but the suggestion a noted enemy might be trying to undermine the US is “astronomical propaganda”.