‘Get that son of a bitch off the field’: Trump takes aim at NFL anthem protesters (VIDEOS)
US President Donald Trump took a short break from his verbal sparring with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to take aim at NFL players who protest police brutality against minorities.
“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. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” Trump told a cheering Alabama crowd Friday night.
... trump taking a veiled shot at colin kaepernick, says owner should say: "get that sonofabitch off the field right now... he's fired!!" pic.twitter.com/ttbOd0VrPG— fake nick ramsey (@nick_ramsey) September 23, 2017
“You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country,” he added.
Trump is complaining there's been too much attention on degenerative brain diseases in the NFL. "They're ruining the game" pic.twitter.com/0MGCs7dNwL— Brandon Wall (@Walldo) September 23, 2017
Trump made his outlandish remarks at a rally in Huntsville's Von Braun Center, ostensibly in support of Republican senator Luther Strange who is running in a special Republican primary next week for the seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions’ appointment as Attorney General.
As he is wont to do, Trump went off-script in a meandering rant that touched on healthcare reform, his infamous wall along the southern border with Mexico and even his borderline-apocalyptic back-and-forth with North Korea’s “Rocket Man” Kim Jong-un.
Trump then attacked American football players who have made political protests by kneeling during the national anthem, a trend started by the then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Love this: @realDonaldTrump on NFL players disrespecting our flag/anthem: "get that son of a bitch off the field right now - YOU'RE FIRED!"— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 23, 2017
The POTUS encouraged counter-protests by fans attending games who see players kneeling for the national anthem.
“But do you know what’s hurting the game more than that?” he said. “When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re 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.”
“I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway.”
How does one stand for the flag of a nation whose leader believes you should lose your livelihood for refusing to?— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) September 23, 2017
Needless to say, Trump’s inflammatory remarks didn’t go down well among current and former NFL players, with several asking Trump to stick to politics, including Redskins linebacker Zach Brown.
It's a shame and disgrace when you have the President of the US calling citizens of the country sons of a bitches.— Bishop Sankey (@BishopSankey) September 23, 2017
Trump stay in ur place... football have nothing to do wit u smh— Zach Brown (@ZachBrown_55) September 23, 2017
Does anyone tell trump to stick to politics, like they tell us to stick to sports? Smh.— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) September 23, 2017
Others were quick to highlight the fact Trump’s presidential campaign received sizable donations from NFL franchise owners.
For all their money/support of Trump, what did the NFL owners get? He called tonight for a boycott of the league and trashed their product.— Don Van Natta Jr. (@DVNJr) September 23, 2017
Will these owners speak out against this rhetoric like they did Kap's protest? https://t.co/1kQNfOQkxu— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) September 23, 2017
In August, the Cleveland Browns staged the largest protest to date, believed to be the first to also include white players. In response, the pre-game ceremony was boycotted by police and paramedics.
"We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there’s things in this country that still need to change" https://t.co/IabFOB0rVW— RT America (@RT_America) August 22, 2017
The signature protest has quickly gathered momentum, and has even spread to the minor leagues.