NFL players blast Trump over saying kneeling players should be ‘fired’
Players across the NFL wasted no time in reacting to President Donald Trump’s condemnation Friday night of those protesting the treatment of minorities in the U. S. by kneeling during the national anthem .
The president called on owners to “fire” players who did not stand during the anthem. Trump made the off-the-cuff comments at a rally in Alabama supporting Sen. Luther Strange in his primary bid.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of the NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now?'” he said to thunderous applause and cheers.
“You know, some owner … is going to say, ‘That guy who disrespects our flag, he’s fired,'” Trump said.
A handful of players have kneeled or sat on the bench during national anthems performed before games over the past two seasons in a controversy largely set off by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick, who is currently unsigned, began kneeling as a sign of protest for the treatment of black citizens before a preseason game in September 2016.
The reaction to Trump’s comments on social media were largely negative toward the president:
Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall
Lions tight end Eric Ebron
Does anyone tell trump to stick to politics, like they tell us to stick to sports? Smh.
Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis
Redskins linebacker Zach Brown
Trump stay in ur place… football have nothing to do wit u smh
Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews (a college teammate of Kaepernick)
I’m a full supporter of the Flag & This country! Trust Me! But this can’t be real! https://t.co/GAPkZPB8hz
Buccaneers safety T. J. Ward
Smh! Gives more reason https://t.co/TyVCJgQK0L
Vikings running back Bishop Sankey
It’s a shame and disgrace when you have the President of the US calling citizens of the country sons of a bitches.
Former Texans running back Arian Foster
cloth has more value than people. apparently. https://t.co/PZjeRA9861
Kaepernick did not respond to the Trump comments in the hours following the speech by Trump.
Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett recently reignited the debate when he criticized Las Vegas police for racial profiling following an accidental arrest last month.
Bennett was detained by police outside a Las Vegas casino on Aug. 27 after police responded to a report of gunfire in the area. Video obtained by TMZ of the incident shows an officer yelling at Bennett and pointing his gun at him while he is handcuffed. He was later let go by police.
Bennett has begun sitting on the bench during the national anthem in protest of police violence.
ABC News’ Brendan Rand contributed to this report.