White House defends Trump on NFL: 'This isn't about being against anyone'

The White House on Monday defended President Trump's war of words with the National Football League (NFL) over player protests during the national anthem. 

“This isn’t about the president being against anyone," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at her daily briefing. "This is about the president and millions of Americans being for something.” 
 
Sanders was peppered with questions about Trump's description of players who kneel during the anthem as "sons of bitches" who should be fired. 
 
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She declined to defend his specific language, but said Trump was trying to rally the country around unifying themes like patriotism and respect for the military. 
 
“I think that it’s always appropriate for the president of the United States to defend our flag, to defend our national anthem," she said. 
 
The White House was challenged over Trump’s claim that his remarks had nothing to do with race. Reporters noted that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem, was protesting police brutality and racial inequality.

Sanders responded that the “focus” of the protests “has long since changed.”

“I think if the debate is really for them about police brutality they should probably protest the officers on the field that are protecting them instead of the American flag,” Sanders said.