Local news station WPLN reports that every member of the Tennessee Republican State Senate has signed a letter addressed to the presidents of state universities encouraging them to "prohibit" players from kneeling during the anthem on the grounds that "our student athletes represent not only themselves, but also our universities and all the citizens of this state, many of whom view this form of protest as disrespectful."
The letter also asks universities to instruct students on the "proper times, places, and manners for expressing protest."
WPLN notes that the GOP state senators sent the letter to the universities just one week after the East Tennessee State University men's basketball team knelt during the national anthem.
State Sen. Rusty Crowe, one of the Republicans who signed the letter, told WPLN that he doesn't think restricting student athletes from peacefully protesting during sporting events would violate their First Amendment rights under the Constitution.
"Most of us are thinking that when you are in that uniform and you are acting as an ambassador for the university and the state, there possibly is a line there that differentiates that freedom of speech," he explained.