John Mellencamp lent his support to pro football players planning to take a knee during the U.S. national anthem before Sunday’s Super Bowl during a politically charged performance on Thursday night’s edition of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”.
Performing the track “East Target” from his most recent album, “Sad Clowns and Hillbillies”, the 66-year-old rocker demonstrated he’s as scrappy as ever when, at the end of the song, he dropped to one knee and held his fist aloft.
NFL stars taking a knee during the anthem caught fire this season as increasing numbers of players followed the path laid down by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick, who began dropping to one knee as a way to protest police brutality directed at young black males. The gesture has been derided by President Donald Trump as unpatriotic, leading the president into a Twitter war with the NFL over the issue.
“Taking the knee started purely and simply as a protest of racial and social injustice,” Mellencamp explained in an interview with Associated Press. “Sadly it was politicized by the current administration. The song is simple and the protest is pure.”