Following NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's statement condemning racism and admitting the league was wrong for not listening to players sooner regarding police brutality and their right to peacefully protest, President Donald Trump responded Sunday night with a tweet about respecting the American flag.
"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?" Trump wrote.
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?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 8, 2020
Trump has once again brought up the debate over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, a movement started by Colin Kaepernick in 2016 in an effort to bring attention to police brutality, among other causes.
On multiple occasions, the President has like many critics of the protest, called it a disrespectful act toward the country, the flag and members of the American military. Kaepernick's decision to kneel was advised by a Green Beret, Nate Boyer.
Goodell's statement was in response to requests from multiple NFL stars for the league to admit past mistakes and say "Black Lives Matter."
"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people," Goodell said in his statement. "We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest."
As nationwide protests continue following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Goodell added that the league will reach out to players who've voiced their concerns on how to move forward.
Last week, Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle that he would be kneeling during the anthem this season. "We're all getting ready to take a knee together," he said.
Trump also tweeted in support of Drew Brees, whose comments last week about why he wouldn't support kneeling during the anthem drew swift backlash including from members of his own team. Brees apologized for his comments and later defended the right to peacefully protest in an Instagram message tweeted to Trump.