President Donald Trump condemned NFL player protests at a rally on Friday. By Saturday morning, many NFL players had responded.
At a political rally in Alabama Friday, President Donald Trump denounced NFL players who have publicly protested by kneeling or sitting during the playing of the national anthem before games.
“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 said to the crowd at the rally in Huntsville, Ala.
He also called for NFL fans to leave the stadium when players kneel for the anthem, theorizing this would quickly put a stop to the protests.
Trump’s comments struck a bad note with NFL players, and by Saturday morning, many, including Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman expressed their disgust on Twitter.
Sherman’s teammates Bobby Wagner and Germain Ifedi, retweeted him, while cornerback Jeremy Lane retweeted a tweet with a video and the words “me waiting for Trump to hurry and get out of office” with a black fist emoji.
From Dave Zirin, who’s currently writing a book with Michael Bennett, here is a statement from receiver Doug Baldwin:
The Seahawks’ most prominent protester this season has been Bennett, who says he’ll remain seated for the national anthem all season as a symbol of protest to advocate for the rights of African Americans, women and other minority groups. Bennett also raised a fist in a symbol of “solidarity for oppressed peoples” after his sack of 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer last week.
Defensive lineman Cliff Avril added to the list of Seahawks responding on Twitter to Trump’s comments, writing, “Wow! Is this what we’ve come to? The ‘leader’ of this country continues to try to divide us and now wants divide one of the few thing that any and everyone can come together and enjoy no matter [what] ethnic group you are.”
Fellow defensive lineman Frank Clark appeared to confirm that he would join Bennett on the bench Sunday in wake of Trump’s comments. Clark and Avril had previously taken part toward the end of the anthem, after standing for the beginning.
Trump doubled down on his comments from Friday’s rally with a new set of tweets Saturday morning.
Here’s what some other NFL players, including former UW star Bishop Sankey had to say about Trump’s comments.
The NFL and NFLPA also responded to Trump’s comments Saturday morning, with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saying in a statement, “divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all our players.”
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith tweeted a statement saying, “this union will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks.” NFLPA president Eric Winston, who was briefly a Seahawk in 2014, also tweeted a statement.
This fiery response to Trump’s condemnation of NFL player protests has led to speculation on social media about whether Trump’s rant against the NFL might trigger more widespread protests when NFL teams take the field on Sunday.
By mid-Saturday morning, the hashtag #TakeaKnee was trending on Twitter.
Trump is facing backlash from prominent members of the NBA community, too, after he tweeted Saturday morning that the NBA champion Golden State Warriors’ invitation to the White House has been “rescinded” after Warriors star Stephen Curry’s comments indicating he might not want to go to the White House to meet Trump as part of the traditional reception for championship teams.
This led to the following comments from LeBron James, Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant, who have all been to the White House in the past to celebrate their NBA championships.
This is what Curry said declining a White House invitation would mean.