In the last few days, President Donald Trump has turned his attention to professional sports taking on the NFL and Golden State Warriors. According to FOX News, Trump noted at a recent Alabama rally that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem should be fired.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘get that son of a bitch off the field right now – he’s fired,'” Trump said of NFL players.
The comments were praised by Donald Trump Jr.
Trump took to Twitter to double down on his comments just hours before the majority of NFL games kicked off on Sunday.
If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend! NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.
NFL players responded in a big way with a variety of actions. The Pittsburgh Steelers refused to take the field during the national anthem. The Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans later stayed in their locker rooms as well. Some teams locked arms before the game, a move that was started last season by the Seahawks.
The Ravens Benjamin Watson spoke to The Baltimore Sun about Trump’s demands.
“Very emotional this morning,” Watson told The Baltimore Sun. “A lot of guys were upset about the things President Trump said, were upset that he would imply that we can’t exercise our First Amendment rights as players. We were upset that he would imply that we should be fired for exercising those rights. It was very emotional for all of us. We all had decisions to make.”
The Ravens-Jaguars were the first game of the day, kicking off in London at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.
After several teams locked arms during the anthem, Trump tweeted this was an appropriate response.
Trump went on to formally invite the Pittsburgh Penguins to the White House, words that could be seen as a veiled swipe at the Warriors after the president rescinded his White House invitation to the team.
In keeping with a theme of declining NFL ratings, Trump retweeted this tweet encouraging fans to boycott the league if protests continued.
Trump later touched on those in the service as reason that NFL players should be standing for the anthem.
Finally, Trump again encouraged fans not to support players who do not stand for the anthem.