President Trump pondered in a tweet Sunday whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s apology for not “listening” to black players when they spoke out about racism was also a green light for them to kneel during the season.
Trump has said players who knelt during the national anthem are being disrespectful to their country and flag.
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“Could it be even remotely possible that in Roger Goodell’s rather interesting statement of peace and reconciliation, he was intimating that it would now be O.K. for the players to KNEEL, or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag?” he wrote.
Trump appeared to be responding to Goodell, who released a video Friday supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We, at the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter,” he said. “I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much needed change in this country.
“Without black players, there would be no National Football League and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality, and oppression of black players, coaches, fans, and staff. We are listening, I am listening, and I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and go forward for a better and more united NFL family.”
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Trump’s latest tweet aimed at the NFL comes amid a back-and-forth between him and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
Brees said last week he would never agree with the gesture of kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest and then later apologized for his comments, twice. Trump criticized Brees on Friday for issuing an apology.
“I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag,” the president wrote on Twitter.
“OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high … We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!”
Brees responded to the president in a tweet later Friday night.
TRUMP CRITICIZES SAINTS’ DREW BREES AFTER APOLOGIZING FOR STANCE ON KNEELING DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
“Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It never has been,” Brees wrote on Instagram.
“We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities,” the quarterback continued. “We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform.
“We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when?
“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”
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Brees received support for standing up to the president.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and Sam Dorman contributed to this report.