US Politics

Trump Calls on NFL, NBA Players to Stand During National Anthem

President Donald Trump on Tuesday called on sports players to stand for the national anthem, disclosing that he hopes the NFL season doesnt start if players kneel during the song.

NFL executives, players, and others “want to open and they want to open badly and theyve been working with government,” Trump said.

“I would say this—if they dont stand for the national anthem I hope they dont open. But other than that Id love to see them open and were doing everything possible for getting them open. They can protest in other ways. They shouldnt protest our flag or our country.”

Trump said NFL owners are well aware of his stance before turning his ire on the NBA.

“I think its horrible for basketball ratings. Theyre down to very, very low numbers. People are angry about it. … They have enough politics with guys like me. They dont need more as theyre driving down, going up for the shot. They dont need it. There was a nastiness about the NBA and the way it was done. I think the NBAs in trouble, I think its in big trouble—bigger trouble than they understand,” the Republican said.

Heat Nuggets Basketball
Miami Heats Meyers Leonard stands during the national anthem as other players kneel before an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Aug. 1, 2020. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

Also indicating his displeasure for professional baseball, Trump said the NHL, a pro hockey league, has “respected what theyre supposed to be doing.”

“You have to stand for your flag, and you have to respect your flag and your country,” he said.

Trump was speaking in an interview with Fox Sports Radio.

Professional basketball players resumed their season last month in Florida. Nearly every player has knelt during the national anthem as part of what the league says is part of an effort “to address racial inequality across the country.”

The league also put the words “Black Lives Matter” on courts and players wear warm-up shirts with the phrase. Players were given the ability to choose one of 29 phrases or words for the back of their jerseys, such as “Vote,” “Listen to Us,” and “AntiRacist.”

Commissioner Adam Silver said the league is not enforcing its rule that mandates standing during the anthem.

Kneeling started in the NFL in 2016. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick said at the time that he wasnt going to “stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid kneel in protest during the National Anthem in this September 12, 2016 file photo. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid kneel in protest during the National Anthem on Sept. 12, 2016. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The league tried cracking down on what was said to be a form of protest, but ultimately let players kneel during the anthem.

Commissioner Roger Goodell in June

The Epoch Times

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