President Donald Trump’s row with the NFL intensified as the spat moved to Twitter, the president’s favorite battlefield.
At a rally on Friday night, President Trump had demanded that any NFL player who refused to stand during the national anthem should be fired. Mining the misplaced rage of his audience, the classy president said, “Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now... he is fired.’”
After his remarks, NFL President Roger Goodell released a statement saying “divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect.”
This response seemed to have enraged Trump even further, who took to Twitter to double down on his comments.
Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
President Trump also demanded that any person who makes money through the NFL must respect the country.
If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
The president was referring to a string of protests, initiated by NFL player Colin Kaepernick, of kneeling when the national anthem played to protest the brutality and violence black people face at the hands of the police.
Trump’s statement seems to have injected new life into the movement. On Saturday night, Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to take a knee during the national anthem. Maxwell, whose father is in the military, said he knelt for “people that don’t have a voice.”
During a concert the same night in New York City, Stevie Wonder also knelt down in a show of solidarity with Kaepernick, who has been alienated in the league and has not been signed by any team since his protest. Wonder proclaimed that he will take “both knees” for America.
Stephen Curry, the NBA’s top performer in 2015, also clapped back when he announced his decision to not go to the White House. The president then attempted to roll back an invitation to White House that had never been extended to Curry.
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
LeBron James, one of the greatest stars the sport has produced, set the record straight and called him a “bum.”
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
LeBron James later released a video on the site Uninterrupted to explain his tweet.
“You look at him asking the NFL owners to get rid of players off the field because they’re exercising their rights — and that’s not right,” James said.
Also responding to Trump was Teresa Kaepernick, Colin’s mother, who perhaps delivered the most eloquent response to so vile a statement.
Guess that makes me a proud bitch!— Teresa Kaepernick (@B4IleaveU) September 23, 2017