Yesterday President Donald Trump reasserted his criticism of football players kneeling during the national anthem in protest, saying via Twitter that anyone who wants the “privilege” of playing in the NFL should not be allowed to “disrespect our Great American Flag.” This caused a quick and broad reaction of rebuke among many professional athletes of many sports, to which Trump surely took notice and responded in his uniquely Trumpian way: hitting back harder.
This morning the President doubled down (actually, tripled down?) on his critique of those ostensibly protesting racial inequity and alleged unfair and occasionally brutal treatment of people of color by police officers by suggesting that NFL fans refuse to attend games until the disrespect starts. Read the two-part tweet.
A cursory search on Twitter suggests that many NFL players, and perhaps even an entire team, intend to protest Trump’s divisive rhetoric by taking a knee during today’s games. This from CNN’s Brian Stelter:
The kickoff for today’s first NFL game is set for 9:30AM with the Ravens and Jaguars playing at Wembley Stadium in London.
Ironically, while Trump is suggesting that people ignore the NFL, many more people are likely to tune in today to see how players act on the sidelines during the National Anthem. It’s almost as though this entire controversy is designed to be a distraction from a thus far legislatively neutered Trump Administration.