WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (FOX 13) - Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd calls the act of kneeling during the national anthem by NFL football players "abhorrent."
"First off, I don't think we should have made a political-social event out of a football game," said Judd at a news conference on Wednesday.
"Second of all, I think it's abhorrent that you would not stand up during the national anthem when you've got men and women scattered around the world protecting you and keeping you safe while you make multiple millions of dollars playing a game. It's abhorrent," he said.
"It's not the right place, it's not the right time, it's not the right venue," he continued.
Several hundred football players took a knee this week during the national anthem, while other teammates locked arms in solidarity and several teams stayed entirely in the locker room.
Last week, several players continued the movement started last year by former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, but President Donald Trump’s comments and tweets saying protesting players should be fired sparked a wide response over the weekend.
Judd, already known for his outspokenness, is the latest to sound off on the divisive topic that has political leaders, athletes in other leagues, actors and musicians also speaking out.
On Sunday, two Tampa Bay Buccaneers players knelt during the national anthem. Shortly after kickoff, the Buccaneers tweeted a statement from co-chairman Joel Glazer:
"As we have stated previously, the Buccaneers recognize every individual's constitutional right to freedom of speech, which is crucial to the American way of life that we cherish. We are equally committed to the principles of inclusively and respect for differing points of view that should be afforded to all Americans."
Sheriff Judd said the players should reserve their political and social statements for their own time and that President Trump should not be involved in the issue either.
"I don't care what social statement you think you're making, you're disrespecting the men and women who are protecting your very life," he added.