On Sunday, President Donald Trump responded to the massive backlash to his fiery comments about those “son of a b****” athletes disrespecting the country by refusing to stand for the national anthem. Speaking to the press just before boarding Air Force One, Trump defended his criticism of the protesters and dismissed any accusations that his slam on the anthem kneelers had anything to do with racism.
At a rally in Huntsville, Alabama Friday night, President Trump set the sports world on fire when he unloaded on NFL players disrespecting the country through their anthem protests. “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. Out. He’s fired! He’s fired!'” Trump told the enthusiastic crowd. He also urged them to “leave the stadium” if they saw even one anthem protester.
Predictably, his comments set off a wave of outrage from the league. On Sunday, dozens of players who had never knelt before chose to kneel in solidarity with their America-protesting peers — and, now, in “Resistance” to the president himself. Some teams even refused to come out on the field when the Star-Spangled Banner was played. Sports media celebrated the displays as the greatest “unity” they’d seen in the league in years.
Given a chance to comment on his criticism of protesters and the NFL on Sunday, Trump, standing under the wing of Air Force One, said again that “owners should do something about” the protests, though he didn’t specifically repeat his call for them to be fired or suspended.
“We have a great country. We have great people representing our country, especially our soldiers and first responders. They can be treated with respect,” Trump said, according to AFP.
“When you get on your knee and you don’t respect the American flag or the anthem that is not being treated with respect,” he said.
“This has nothing to do with race or anything else,” he added. “This has to do with respect for our country, and respect for our flag.”
Over the weekend, Trump further inflamed his feud with the sports world by announcing via his favorite medium, Twitter, that Stephen Curry and apparently the entire “hesitating” Golden Warriors team was officially disinvited to the White House for the standard championship photo-op. That got a response from many big names, including King James.
As was clear on Sunday, the Trump-NFL War has now officially revived the fading national anthem protest “movement,” so all of us sports fans who were hoping to stop having our Football Sundays tainted by politics are officially out of luck.