U.S. President Donald Trump profanely criticized NFL players who protest police brutality by kneeling during the U.S. national anthem and said they should be fired by their teams.
Team owners, Trump said, should respond by telling their coaches: “Get that son of a b---- off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”
The anthem protests began in August 2016 when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt before a pre-season game. Kaepernick was joined in his protest by some teammates and players on other teams as the season progressed.
He opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March and has not been signed by another team, though the protests have continued this season.
“For a week” any owner who fired a protesting player “would be the most popular person in this country,” Trump said.
The protests, largely by Black players, are “a total disrespect of our heritage,” Trump said. “That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for. We respect our flag.”