NFL union hits back at Trump over players’ right to protest

Getty Images

The head of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), the union representing professional football players, said Saturday that the union “will never back down” from supporting players’ right to protest.

The statement follows President Trump saying Friday night that people should “pick up and leave” NFL games if players kneel as a form of protest during the national anthem.

“Whether or not [NFL 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,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement.

{mosads}“This union, however, will never back down when it comes to 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,” he continued.

Trump told a crowd at a rally for Alabama candidate Sen. Luther Strange (R) on Friday night that NFL players will stop kneeling if crowds started leaving games.

“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 if it’s one player, leave the stadium,” Trump said. “I guarantee things will stop.”

Trump also said NFL owners should fire players if they refuse to stand during the national anthem.

“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. He is fired,’ ” he said.

Trump also accused NFL referees of “ruining the game” by penalizing players who “hit too hard.”

“Today, if you hit too hard … 15 yards, throw him out of the game,” Trump said. “They are ruining the game, right?”

Multiple NFL players have fired back at Trump, with one Washington Redskins player telling him to “stay in your place” following his comments.

Trump has previously attacked NFL player Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem to protest the treatment of people of color in America. He also suggested Kaepernick remains an unsigned, free agent because he won’t stand for the anthem.

Tags Luther Strange

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video