US President Donald Trump on Thursday continued to insist that NFL players must stand up for the national anthem, calling the protests “terrible.”
Trump sparked outrage on Friday when he said NFL players who kneel during the anthem should be “fired.”
On Sunday, teams, players, and even NFL owners around the league joined in protests, linking arms, kneeling, and sometimes staying off the field altogether.
On Thursday, asked about the protests, Trump told “Fox and Friends” that he thinks NFL owners are “in a box” and some are joining in the protests to appease players because they’re “afraid” of them.
“I have so many friends that are owners. And they’re in a box,” Trump said. “I mean I’ve spoken to a couple of them. They say, we are in a situation where we have to do something. I think they’re afraid of their players, you want to know the truth.”
Trump said NFL owners must get “tough” and do something about the protests because ratings and attendance are down, a claim Trump has repeated this week.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that he spoke to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the team is going to continue standing for the anthem. On Monday, the Cowboys kneeled and linked arms before the anthem, then stood as a team when the anthem played.
On “Fox and Friends,” Trump suggested the NFL could make standing for the anthem a rule because “they have rules for everything.”
“They have to do something about it … they can stop it,” Trump said. “You know, they have rules for everything. You can’t dance in the end zone. You can’t wear the pink socks, relative to breast cancer, which is one of the places — they have rules for everything. Why aren’t they honouring this country by enforcing a rule that’s been in existence for a long time?”
Trump said he has seen the protests, again calling it “terrible,” grow since Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem last season. He said he decided to speak up about the need to stand for the anthem out of “respect” for the country and said “most people” agree with him.
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