President Trump took aim at former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Monday, claiming teams do not want to sign him because of his refusal to stand for the national anthem.
Trump veered off script during a campaign-style rally in Louisville, Ky., and appeared to claim credit for the player’s free-agent status.
“There was an article today that was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMcMaster to South Korea: US will pay for missile defense system Comedian Hasan Minhaj blasts Trump, media at WHCA dinner White House correspondents' chief: 'We are not fake news' MORE. Do you believe that?” the president said, prompting applause from the crowd at Freedom Hall.
Trump was apparently referencing an article published Friday by the website Bleacher Report, in which one league executive explained why Kaepernick does not have a job.
The anonymous executive said the 29-year-old “can still play at a high level” but that “some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him.”
“They think there might be protests or Trump will tweet about the team,” the executive said. “I’d say that number is around 10 percent.”
Kaepernick was a frequent Trump punching bag during last year’s presidential campaign. The then-Republican nominee said the quarterback should leave the country if he continued to protest the “Star Spangled Banner.”
While Trump found time to go after an old foe, he did not mention FBI Director James Comey’s explosive testimony earlier Monday to the House Intelligence Committee.
Comey confirmed that the bureau is investigating whether the president’s associates coordinated with Russia to influence the outcome of the election and said he has seen no evidence to back up Trump's claim that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.