WASHINGTON, D.C. — A fed up President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to unleash his rage against NFL players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.
In a barrage of tweets, the outspoken president called for NFL owners to mandate that all players stand for the national anthem or risk being fired.
“The booing at the NFL football game last night, when the entire Dallas team dropped to its knees, was loudest I have ever heard. Great anger,” Trump wrote in one tweet.
“The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations. The only way out for them is to set a rule that you can’t kneel during our National Anthem!” he wrote in another.
The president’s latest round of comments come after his speech in Alabama on Saturday during which he called out Colin Kaepernick, who sparked controversy last year when he refused to stand for the national anthem in “protest” of police brutality.
“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. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired,’” Trump said to the cheering Alabama crowd.
The NFL, less than thrilled with Trump’s comments, pushed back, with several teams vowing to kneel during the anthem or stay in the locker room in protest of the president’s comments.
The decision to do so was met with tremendous backlash from the right, particularly from pro-veterans groups who saw the decision to kneel as a show of disrespect for the flag.
“Anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period. What got ’em where they’re at? The United States,” Nascar legend and team owner Richard Petty said of the controversy (https://apnews.com/dc7ba43160d049eca3a0460d093ad8e1/The-Latest:-NASCAR-owners-discourage-anthem-protests).
Several of Petty’s fellow team owners echoed his comments, adding that any driver who refuses to stand for the anthem will soon be finding themselves a new job.
“Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America,” said Richard Childress team owner of drivers Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon and Paul Menard and longtime car owner of Dale Earnhardt, who added that kneeling on his team would “get you a ride on a Greyhound bus.”
Responding to critics who called his comments racially motivated, Trump said race played no issue in his demand for respect for the national anthem. His motivation, said the president, was about patriotism.
The president denied those charges on Monday, arguing that his comments were simply about defending the American flag and the country against disrespect.
“The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!” he tweeted.