President Donald Trump stoked his dispute with the National Football League over the National Anthem, tweeting Monday that he is ‘so proud of NASCAR’ and that the controversy had ‘nothing to do with race.’
Trump issued the provocative tweet after his dispute with professional athletes led news and sports coverage over the weekend, after he called for NFL players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem to get suspended or fired.
‘So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won’t put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag – they said it loud and clear!’ Trump tweeted.
Then he tweeted: ‘Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!’
President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that he was ‘so proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans’ as he said the flag controversy had ‘nothing to do with race’
The president followed up: ‘The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!’
Trump fueled the controversy after more than 200 players defied his criticism by kneeling or linking arms during nationally televised games on Sunday.
Trump also brushed off criticism that race was involved in his attacks. He told reporters as he boarded Air Force One Sunday night: ‘‘I never said anything about race.’ He added: ”This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country and respect for our flag.’
The players he targeted, San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick and Golden State Warriors basketball star Stephen Curry, are black.
NASCAR’s share of white audience was 94 per cent, according to a 2014 Atlantic story.
Trump told an Alabama crowd Friday night; ‘Wouldn’t you love to see one of these N.F.L. owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired!’ ”
Major Thompson completed his last flight as pilot was introduced by Trump to reporters. Trump is pictured greeting Lynel Thompson, wife of the Marine pilot, and their two children
He added: “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’
Trump gave an impromptu press briefing while boarding Air Force One on Sunday evening to address his criticism of NFL players who took a knee during the national anthem.
And to reaffirm his pro-military stance, upon landing in Washington he met with Marine One pilot Major James Thompson and his family. Major Thompson recently completed his last flight in service and was introduced by Trump to reporters at the White House.
Driving his criticisms home for the evening, he then tweeted: ‘Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country.
‘NFL should change policy!’
It’s unclear what policy Trump was referring to.
Upon his return to the White House he tweeted: ‘Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. ‘NFL should change policy!’
During Sunday’s NFL games more than 200 players defiantly reacted to Trump’s criticism by kneeling, sitting linking arms, giving black power salutes and not even showing up for the singing of the anthem.
Unsurprisingly Trump took to Twitter to respond – writing: ‘Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!’
He quickly followed up with: ‘Courageous Patriots have fought and died for our great American Flag – we MUST honor and respect it! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!’
The tweets doubled down on comments he made during a speech in Alabama Friday night.
During the speech he said any player who protests racism by kneeling during the national anthem is a ‘son of a b****’.
The protests were started before the 2016 season by quarterback Colin Kaepernick – who used his public platform to protest police brutality and racism.
Reaffirming his pro-military stance, the president also met with Marine One pilot Major James Thompson as he arrived back in Washington
On Sunday evening Trump told reporters that his criticism has ‘nothing’ to do with race, saying: ‘I never said anything about race. ‘This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country and respect for our flag’
Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday afternoon after at least 200 players protested during the national anthem
Washington Redskins tight end Niles Paul (84) and linebacker Ryan Anderson (52) and Washington Redskins linebacker Chris Carter (55) kneel with teammates during the playing of the national anthem. Every member of the team and the coaches either took a knee or linked arms during the singing
Some members of the Oakland Raiders sit on the bench during the national anthem on Sunday night .The whole team and the coaches were in solidarity, either sitting or linking arms during the singing
All of the players for the Green Bay Packers locked arms during the national anthem before they took on the Cincinnati Bengals
Terrance Smith #48, Eric Fisher #72, Demetrius Harris #84, and Cameron Erving #75 of the Kansas City Chiefs is seen taking a knee before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday afternoon
The defiance against Trump continued as games kicked off across the country with at least 20 Patriots players kneeling and many of their teammates, including Tom Brady, locking arms in unity in Houston, Texas
Jacksonville Jaguars players were spotted kneeling during the U.S. national anthem before the match on Sunday
Baltimore Ravens players took a knee during the national anthem at Wembley in London on Sunday just hours after Donald Trump continued his growing feud with athletes
During Sunday evening’s conference Trump also doubled down on calls for players who protest the flag to be fired saying: ‘It’s very disrespect to our flag and to our country, so I certainly think the owners should do something about it.’
Speaking about whether the players were just expressing their first amendment rights, he said: ‘They have rights. We all have rights.
‘But when you’re on the field, and, you know, there’s a situation gong on, this is a great, great country, and we have a great flag, and they should respect our flag.
‘They’re making a lot of money. I’m not begrudging anything. I’m just saying they have to respect our flag, and they have to respect our country.
When asked about Robert Kraft’s comments, Trump said he thought it was ‘okay’ that the Patriots owner was disappointed in him, saying: ‘He has to take his ideas and go with what he wants.
‘I think it’s very disrespectful to our country. I think it’s very disrespectful to our flag.’
On Sunday the owner, who has previously been forward about his friendship with the president, said the comments ‘deeply disappointed’ him.
The Houston Texans stand with their arms linked in solidarity ahead of the game against the Patriots
Detroit Lions defensive end Armonty Bryant (97), defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (91) and defensive end Cornelius Washington (90) take a knee alongside their teammates
Philadelphia Eagles players and personnel stood by linked arms during the anthem before their game against the New York Giants
More than 20 Cleveland Browns’ players took a knee ahead of the game against the Indianapolis Colts
Ravens players took a knee on the Wembley turf after Trump said sportsmen who ‘disrespect America’ should be ‘fired’
Players from the Seahawks and Titans remained in their locker rooms ahead of their game in Nashville on Sunday afternoon. The sideline was empty (above) while the anthem played
Pittsburgh Steelers players were absent from the sideline (above on the right) during the anthem and only ran out onto the field when it ended
A handful of Miami Dolphins were spotted kneeling during the anthem while their remaining teammates locked arms in unity
Several Indianapolis Colts’ players took a knee ahead of their game against the Cleveland Browns
New Orleans Saints players sit on the bench ahead of their against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina
On Sunday afternoon more than 200 players stood together to protest police brutality and Donald Trump’s criticism’s by either kneeling, linking arms, or just not showing up for the singing of the National Anthem.
Players from both the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars were the first to protest by taking a knee ahead of their game at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday morning. No players were kneeling during the playing of God Save The Queen – the British national anthem.
The defiance against Trump continued as games kicked off across the country with an unprecedented number of players kneeling and most teams in the early afternoon games locking arms in solidarity.
At least 20 Patriots players were spotted kneeling as Tom Brady linked arms with his teammates.
Pittsburgh Steelers players were absent from the sideline and remained in the locker room during the Star Spangled Banner. Alejandro Villanueva, who served three tours in Afghanistan, was the only Steelers’ player to stand outside the tunnel for the anthem.
The protests from each team came in the wake of Trump’s critical remarks toward players who don’t stand for the anthem. Last week across the entire NFL, only four players knelt or sat, and two stood with their fists raised.
Players from the Seahawks and Titans remained in their locker rooms ahead of their game in Nashville on Sunday afternoon. The Seahawks walked onto the field arm in arm as members of the crowd booed.
The President took to Twitter on Sunday afternoon following the protests, tweeting: ‘Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!’
‘Courageous Patriots have fought and died for our great American Flag – we MUST honor and respect it! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!’
Trump had earlier denounced the kneeling protests by NFL players and rescinded a White House invitation for NBA champion Stephen Curry in a two day rant that targeted top professional athletes and brought swift condemnation from league executives and star players alike on Saturday.
Early Sunday morning, Trump continued his Twitter tirade and called for an NFL boycott.
‘If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!’ Trump tweeted.
‘…NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.’
Jaguars owner Shad Khan joined his players on the field on Sunday in London and was spotted linking arms with them in a show of unity. Khan was among the owners who donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration.
‘It was a privilege to stand on the sidelines with the Jacksonville Jaguars today for the playing of the U.S. national anthem at Wembley Stadium. I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem,’ Khan said, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said he ‘100 percent’ supported his players’ decision to kneel.
‘We recognize our players’ influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 percent. All voices need to be heard. That’s democracy in its highest form,’ he said.
The anthem singer at the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons game ended his performance of the Star Spangled Banner by kneeling and raising his fist in the air.
HOW EACH NFL TEAM PROTESTED AGAINST TRUMP:
Pittsburgh Steelers: Stayed in their locker room until after the anthem.
Baltimore Ravens & Jacksonville Jaguars: Two dozen players took a knee, while remaining players and Jaguars owner Shad Khan remained locked arm-in-arm.
New Orleans Saints: More than a dozen players sat during the anthem.
Denver Broncos: More than half the team knelt during the anthem
Buffalo Bills: A handful of players either sat or knelt.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson knelt with the rest of the team locking arms.
Minnesota Vikings: The team locked arms during the anthem. While no Vikings were spotted taking a knee during the anthem, at least a dozen players sprinted into one end zone and took a knee with head bowed, before the crowd was asked to stand.
New England Patriots: At least 20 Patriots players were spotted kneeling as Tom Brady linked arms with his teammates.
Miami Dolphins: Players linked arms as a team, including owner Stephen Ross. Four players also took a knee. Several players also wore ‘#ImWithKap’ T-shirts during warm-ups.
Green Bay Backers: Players linked arms as a team. Aaron Rodgers also posted a photo to Instagram of himself and three teammates taking a knee.
Philadelphia Eagles: Players locked arms with servicemen. Two players also raised their fists.
Atlanta Falcons: The entire team locked arms as two players took a knee.
Cleveland Browns: At least 20 players took a knee and all team members linked arms.
Chicago Bears: The Bears did not kneel but many did link arms.
Indianapolis Colts: Several players took a knee while the majority linked arms.
Houston Texans: Players linked arms alongside each other.
New York Jets: The players all linked arms.
Buffalo Bills: Several players knelt for the anthem, while others stood behind them with their hands on their shoulders.
Detroit Lions: Eight players took a knee in protest. The anthem singer took a knee after singing and raised his fist.
New York Giants: They linked arms but for the first time had players kneel during the anthem.
Seattle Seahawks: Whole team hose to stay in the locker room while the anthem was being performed
Tennessee Titans: Whole team also opted to stay in the locker room