Trump says he won't watch pro football, soccer if players kneel during anthem

President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE blasted U.S. Soccer’s new policy rescinding a requirement that players stand for the national anthem, saying he would not watch games under the new policy and suggesting a similar move from the NFL was forthcoming.

“I won’t be watching much anymore!” Trump tweeted late Saturday, linking to coverage of Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzFormer Trump officials eye bids for political office Cancun fallout threatens to deal lasting damage to Cruz Thune: Trump allies partaking in 'cancel culture' by punishing senators who voted to convict MORE (R-Fla.), one of his closest allies in the House, also criticizing the decision.


“And it looks like the NFL is heading in that direction also, but not with me watching!” Trump added in a later tweet, this time quoting condemnation from another top conservative House ally, Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanDemocratic fury with GOP explodes in House House Judiciary split on how to address domestic extremism Connolly to GOP: I won't be lectured by those who voted to overturn the election MORE (R-Ohio).


Trump has been perhaps the most vocal critic of professional athletes who have knelt during the national anthem in protest of police killings of unarmed black Americans, saying in 2017 that any NFL player doing it should be fired.

Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent nationwide protests against racism and police brutality, the issue, and the NFL’s response to the initial protests by former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, has gained renewed attention.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell earlier this month issued a statement of support for black NFL players, saying the league stood against racism and apologizing for its earlier handling of player protests. Goodell did not mention Kaepernick by name in the statement. The NFL briefly maintained a policy of fining teams if players refused to stand for the anthem.

Trump sharply criticized Goodell’s statement as well, accusing him of giving players the okay to “disrespect[…] our Country & our Flag.”