President Donald Trump believes NFL players who protest the national anthem should be fired. Players, owners and the industry itself doesn’t appear to agree. Trouble began on Friday night when the President was speaking at a rally for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange in Huntsville.
Along the way, Trump also took credit for the NFL's sagging TV ratings, criticized the league's crackdown on hard hits, and encouraged fans to leave games when they see players protesting. But now, Trump is getting some backlash. Aside from the multitude of players who took a knee this weekend, the Pittsburgh Steelers opted to remain in the locker room while the national anthem played – something that many teams did prior to 9/11. But they’re not alone.
- Not only have former Buffalo Bills Coach – and Trump supporter – Rex Ryan take to the airwaves to voice his dissent with Trump’s comments, Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft issued a similar statement.
- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has also slammed Trump. Goodell called Trump's comments “divisive,” adding that the remarks demonstrated a “lack of respect” and “failure to understand” the issues at play.
- In the meantime, Mr. Trump took to Twitter today to “uninvited” NBA champion Stephen Curry to the White House. An interesting choice of words considering that Curry himself had publicly declined to join his team if they got an invitation. A few hours later, LeBron James weighed in on Twitter, calling Trump a bum adding that Curry already said he was not going. James said "Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!"
- Several members of two NFL teams silently protested during the U.S. national anthem at a game in London this weekend. Players, coaches and others on the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens took a knee and/or locked arms during the playing of the anthem at Wembley Stadium. Jaguars' owner Shad Khan locked arms with some players.
- But this growing firestorm isn’t limited to the NFL and the NBA. Another player is taking a knee during the singing of the national anthem, but this time it's a baseball player. Oakland A's catcher Bruce Maxwellhas become the first MLB player to kneel during the anthem. Maxwell dropped to one knee and held his hand over his heart while facing the flag before Saturday night's game against the Texas Rangers. When the singing of the anthem was over, several players shook his hand. The A's have since issued a statement supporting Maxwell, saying the team respects and supports the constitutional rights and freedom of expression of all of their players.
- How does President Trump feel? Not surprisingly, he has weighed-in via Twitter. The President tweeted "great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country." He said standing for the national anthem "with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable."