Mike Pence created a new and absurd reason that NFL players should not be allowed to publicly oppose racism: the NFL has "national" in its title, just like the "national anthem."

Mike Pence says NFL players should no longer have the freedom to publicly voice their opposition to racism.

Why? According to Pence, the use of “national” in the name of the National Football League means players must stand during the national anthem.

Pence made his bizarre comment at a campaign rally for Sen. Luther Strange, who faces off against disgraced former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in Tuesday’s primary.

“We’ve all got a right to our opinions,” Pence told the crowd, “but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that players in the National Football League to stand for our national anthem.”

Pence’s argument is a variation on recent ranting and raving from Donald Trump, who has insisted that NFL players should be penalized for speaking up against racism.

Applying the newly invented Pence standard, American Prospect columnist Adele M. Stan asked if that meant employees at National Car Rental would also be required to always stand for the anthem.

NFL players have been kneeling during the anthem to protest the problem of systemic racism, particularly in the failure to penalize police after they kill black people.

In using his position and the spotlight it brings to attack black players for exercising their constitutional rights, Pence follows in the footsteps of his superior, while embracing the white supremacist overtones of his poorly thought out argument.

Trump has called for a boycott of the league until it mandates penalties for players who kneel during the anthem. In response, the league rejected Trump in a series of statements, while viewership for the NFL increased after his impotent demand.

Pence’s remarks show that the entire senior leadership of the Trump administration is now focusing its ire on putting down yet another ethnic minority group, while continuing to ignore or down play the serious issues confronting them, like the aftermath of the hurricane in Puerto Rico.

Pence, like Trump, has prioritized shutting up minorities over everything else.