Trump renews attacks on NFL players, calling for suspensions

President Trump on Friday renewed his attacks on NFL players who protest during the national anthem, claiming they “wanted to show their ‘outrage’ at something that most of them are unable to define.”

“The NFL players are at it again — taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem,” Trump tweeted.

{mosads}”Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest,” he continued. “Most of that money goes to the players anyway.”

“Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!” Trump added.

Trump’s new attack came a day after the first big slate of NFL preseason games on Thursday night, during which players from several teams protested during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

They also came the days before the anniversary of last summer’s violence in Charlottesville, Va., where white supremacists marched in support of Confederate imagery and clashed with counterprotesters demonstrating against racism. A counterprotester, Heather Heyer, was killed when a car was driven into a crowd of people allegedly by a man attending the white supremacist rally.

The president received some of the most intense criticism of his presidency when he blamed “both sides” for the violence.

The NFL had sought to end the controversy by imposing a new policy that would have prevented any players from kneeling or protesting during the national anthem. That drew a wave of complaints from players, and the policy was put on hold. 

The protests were initiated by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who first began kneeling during the anthem in 2016 to protest racial injustice and police brutality.

Kaepernick is now out of the NFL and has filed a grievance against the league that argues he has been blackballed by teams over his protests and political views. Another player who joined Kaepernick in protests, Eric Reid, has also filed a grievance.

Trump was incorrect in tweeting that a majority of NFL revenue goes to players. They are guaranteed 47 percent of defined revenue under their current agreement with the league, according to Pro Player Insiders.

Trump has repeatedly attacked NFL players who kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” saying they are disrespecting the flag and military service members.

The president also insulted NBA star LeBron James’s intelligence in a tweet last week, after James said during an interview that Trump was using sports to “divide” the country.

On Thursday night, Miami Dolphins players Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson both took a knee during the anthem.

Kaepernick praised the pair in a tweet on Thursday, citing their protest of “systemic oppression.”

The Philadelphia Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins and De’Vante Bausby both raised fists, and players from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks remained in the tunnel until the end of the anthem, according to The New York Times.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump; NFL; national anthem U.S. national anthem protests

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