One day after railing against the NFL and players who opted not to stand during the national anthem, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with commisioner Roger Goodell’s response.
Trump accused Goodell of “trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.”
Earlier on Saturday, Goodell issued a statement that called the remarks “divisive,” though Trump was not mentioned by name.
“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month,” Goodell said in the statement.
“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”
At a rally Friday night in Alabama, Trump lashed out at NFL players who choose not to stand for the anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!
“You know, some owner’s going to do that,” Trump continued. “He’s going to say, ‘That guy who disrespects our flag, he’s fired.'”
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Many NFL players were quick to condemn Trump’s remarks on social media on Friday night and Saturday. NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said the union “will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks.”
New York Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy and San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York were among the team executives who decried Trump’s remarks as “offensive” on Saturday.