LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — While making a campaign-rally like speech Friday night in Alabama, President Donald Trump said the NFL should “fire” those players who kneel during the national anthem.
He did not mention Colin Kaepernick by name. Strange, as he’s been ranting about Kaepernick for the better part of eight months.
During the rally, the president also said football was being ruined because it was less violent than it used to be.
Kaepernick started kneeling during the playing of the national anthem earlier this year. He said he was protesting the murders of unarmed black men at the hands of police — often white — who then also got away with the killing.
The outspoken football player (also an early advocate for same-sex marriage) is currently without a team. He played quarterback last season for the San Francisco 49ers.
Since Kaepernick began kneeling, several other players have joined the protest. Kaepernick remains unsigned to an NFL team.
As far back as March, Trump in a Twitter rant said he took credit for the fact no team would sign the quarterback.
Trump said these players are “disrespecting” our history and have “a total disrespect for everything we stand for.”
He went on to say he wished the NFL owner of any team with a player showing “disrespect” would say, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired.”
The president also encouraged fans to leave the game any time they spot a player failing to stand for the anthem.
Trump did not mention his own recent race controversy when following a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, in which an anti-fascist protester was killed — he said there were “nice people” on both sides of the argument.
After a nationwide outcry and Congress demanding he sign a declaration denouncing the KKK and white supremacists, the president seemed to double down on the rhetoric recently saying the anti-fascist group had some “bad dudes.”
At the end of the 2016 season, Kaepernick’s teammates voted him the winner of the Len Eshmont Award, the team’s most prestigious prize.
New York Daily News columnist Shaun King said “many” NFL players are furious with Trump for attacking them and their right of free speech.
The popular columnist also wrote that the president “is a shameful white supremacist bigot. He is violent. He is vulgar. He is dangerous. He is despicable.”
King wrote a direct note to NFL players regarding the president.
“Please don’t allow this man to strike an ounce of fear in your heart. Take a knee. Raise a fist. Take a seat. DO IT.”