After Donald Trump launched an attack on NFL players who peacefully protest during the national anthem, he continued Sunday morning encouraging an NFL protest. Despite the fact that many were protesting the league because of Colin Kaepernick’s unemployment, Trump suggested that fans should boycott if players continue to disrespect the flag and country, by taking a knee against racial injustices.
“If NFL fans refuse to go to the games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” Trump tweeted just hours before kickoff. “…NFL attendance and rating are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.”
The day before, Trump doubled down on his Friday night statement, where he called players who protest ‘sons of b*tches,’ saying: “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do.”
However, several team owners and coaches have already denounced Trump’s divisive comments, including his friend and supporter, Patriots CEO Robert Kraft.
“I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday. I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such a tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities. Their efforts, both on and off the field, help bring people together and make our community stronger,” Kraft said in a statement. “There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics. I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal. Our players are intelligent, thoughtful and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful.”