Thursday, President Donald Trump told "Fox & Friends" Pete Hegseth that he believes that the NFL's owners are too scared of their players to take any sort of action on the national anthem protests. Trump said that he's friends with many NFL owners, and that he's spoken to them about the protests. He said the owners are "in a box" and "afraid of their players," which Trump thinks is disgraceful.
About 150 players did some sort of protest during the Star-Spangled Banner during last week's NFL games, and three teams stayed off the field for the anthem altogether.
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"We are in a situation where we have to do something. I think they're afraid of their players, if you want to know the truth. And I think it's disgraceful," said Trump.
Trump reignited the controversy over the national anthem protests last week while at a campaign rally for Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL). At the rally, Trump said that he thought players who protested the flag should be fired for their actions. Since then, Trump has faced a firestorm of criticism from athletes in a variety of professional sports, and athletes in NFL as well as in the MLB have protested during the anthem.
Trump's friendship with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft caused significant grief and soul-searching among some Patriots fans after the 2016 election. Kraft and Trump have been friends for years, and Trump called Kraft weekly to check in following the death of Kraft's wife, Myra.