Trump encourages NFL owners to fire protesting players and fans to boycott games

September 24, 2017 GMT

President Donald Trump, speaking at a rally for Alabama senate candidate Luther Strange on Friday, said he would like to see players who protest the national anthem fired by NFL owners.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say “Get that son of a b**** off the field right now. He is fired.”

Trump also encouraged fans to stop watching games if they see players protesting.

“When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem — the only thing you could do better is if you see it, even it’s one player, leave the stadium,” he said. “I guaranteed things will stop.”

Continued Trump: “Luther and I and everyone in this arena tonight are unified by the same great American values. We’re proud of our country. We respect our flag.”

Trump previously criticized Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled during the anthem last season to protest social inequality and police brutality. Kaepernick’s protests — whether or not they’re part of the reason he remains unemployed today — sparked a firestorm of controversy and emboldened many other NFL players to continue protesting this season.

ADVERTISEMENT

The NFLPA released a statement in response to Trump’s comments: “Whether or not [commissioner] Roger [Goodell] and the owners will speak for themselves about their views on player rights and their commitment to player safety remains to be seen. This union, however, will not back down when it protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks.”

Goodell, via spokesman Brian McCarthy, issued its own statement Saturday morning: “The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

Visit ProFootballWeekly.com | View Latest E-Edition