By Frederick H. Lowe
President Donald Trump today said National Football League players who kneel during the national anthem should not live in this country in his continuing bastardization of the narrative concerning player protests launched to draw attention to police brutality and a racist justice system.
Trump told Fox News that players who don’t stand and instead kneel during the national anthem “shouldn’t be in this country.”
Trump made his comments after the National Football League on Wednesday released its 2018 national anthem policy, requiring players on the sideline to stand when the national anthem is being played. If a player or player kneels, his team will be fined and so might the individual player.
Players, however, have the option of remaining in their locker rooms until the anthem is over.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the owners of San Francisco 49ers abstained from voting, but other team owners approved the changes. There are 32 teams in the NFL.
The owners instituted the new rules after players joined former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling on the sidelines throughout last season to protest police brutality.
The NFL unveiled its new rules the same day Milwaukee Police released a video of police officers tasing and wrestling to ground Sterling Brown, Milwaukee Bucks rookie guard, in January following a very minor parking violation in a Walgreens parking lot.
The Milwaukee Bucks organization called what happened to Brown at the hands of police “shameful and inexcusable.” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the city’s police chief Alfonso Morales have apologized to Brown. The police officers have been disciplined, Morales said.
Goodell claimed the on-field protests created the false perception among fans that NFL players who participated in the protests were unpatriotic.
But others said the NFL, which rakes in $10 billion or more a year and doesn’t pay any taxes, is worried about its bottom line.
Trump played to his right-wing base during a rally in Alabama last September when he called NFL players who kneeled “sons of bitches.” He also encouraged fans to boycott the games when the protests occurred.
The NFL is 77 percent black.