Trump attacks NFL players after 'anthem protests' at opening games of season

Andrew Buncombe
The Independent

Donald Trump has renewed his attacks on protesting American football players, after several refused to stand for the national anthem during the opening games of the NFL season.

During the last two seasons, dozens of players have used the opening ceremonies of games to launch protests over various issues, but especially about treatment of people of colour. Mr Trump has repeatedly attacked them and called for them to be fired.

On Friday morning, the president renewed his criticism, after players from several teams either took a knee or raised a fist in protest during pre-season games that mark the start of a new NFL calendar.

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“The NFL players are at it again - taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem,” Mr Trump tweeted.

“Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their ‘outrage’ at something that most of them are unable to define.”

He added: “They make a fortune doing what they love. Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!”

The protests were first started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who first began kneeling during the anthem in 2016 to protest racial injustice and police brutality.

The Hill said Kaepernick is now out of the NFL, and has filed a grievance against the league that argues he has been blackballed by teams over his protests and political views.

Another player who joined Kaepernick in protests, Eric Reid, has also filed a grievance.

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