On Friday night, speaking at a rally for Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) in Alabama, President Donald Trump made very strong comments about NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick and other players who have protested the National Anthem, saying that he thought that people who protested the anthem should be fired. Trump said that he wished that NFL owners would tell protestors to "get that son of a b--ch off the field right now" and that he believed that players who protest the anthem and disrespect the flag should be fired.
Trump wishes NFL owners would tell anthem protesters "get that son of a bitch off the field right now" pic.twitter.com/gq4EH3lNoY— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) September 23, 2017
On Saturday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement saying that comments like the ones Trump made were "divisive" and showed an "unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players." Goodell cited NFL players' recent response to Hurricane Harvey as an example of how the NFL can be an "overwhelming force for good."
NEW: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says President Trump's "divisive comments ... demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL" pic.twitter.com/AaVLkxa18r— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 23, 2017
The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we've experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.
While Goodell's statement didn't mention the president by name, it's clear that he is not okay with this sort of rhetoric.
Personally, it seems odd that Trump would chose to discuss anthem protests at a time when there are dozens of far more pressing issues facing the country. There are so many more important things to discuss, yet Trump went for...that? It's just very strange. He's not campaigning for president any longer.
This post has been updated.