President Donald Trump commented on the NFL protests that consumed Sunday sports coverage after he derided athletes for disrespecting the flag.
What did he say?
Trump denied watching the games, then said he watched “a little bit,” before offering his observations to a reporter Sunday.
“I was not watching the games today,” Trump said. “Believe me, I’m doing other things, but I watched a little bit, and I will say that there was tremendous solidarity for our flag and for our country.
“We have a great country, we have great people representing our country,” he added, “especially our soldiers, our first responders, and they should be treated with respect. And when you get on your knee and you don’t respect the American flag or the anthem, that’s not being treated with respect.”
“Are you inflaming racial tensions, sir?” the reporter asked.
“No, this has nothing to do with race,” he responded. “I’ve 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,” he concluded.
Here’s the video of his exchange with reporters:
He also took to Twitter to reiterate his opinion about the protests:
Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. NFL should change policy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
Was Trump’s description correct?
While there were some great examples of some players standing up for the national anthem, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Alejandro Villanueva, the news coverage focused on the numerous teams and players that increased their protests in the wake of Trump’s comments.
Fans were very vocal on social media, with many calling for boycotts of teams, individual players, and even the entire NFL itself.
What did Trump say to spark all the protests?
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a b***h off the field right now?” he said. “He’s fired. He’s fired!”
“Cuz that’s a total disrespect of our heritage, OK,” he concluded later in the speech. “That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for, OK? Everything that we stand for.”
Why is this important?
This is largely a distraction from other issues that are affecting our fellow Americans, but it centers on a very emotional and personal pride and patriotism that many feel. Unfortunately, it appears as if it’s only going to divide Americans more, especially along racial lines.