Trump rips anthem protesters: 'Get that son of a b---- off the field'
(Warning: Story/video contains coarse language)
President Donald Trump threw another verbal jab at Colin Kaepernick and other NFL anthem protesters during a rally Friday in Huntsville, Ala.
Trump has blasted the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback several times for vocally opposing police brutality and racial inequality. Though Kaepernick remains a free agent with the season well underway, active players have continued protesting the anthem, and the president took aim at them during an extended commentary on the NFL that included complaints about the officiating.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when someone disrespects our flag? Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He's fired. HE'S FIRED!" Trump said, yelling emphatically into the microphone as his speech carried on.
"You know, some owner is gonna do that," Trump continued, according to the Guardian's Bryan Armen Graham. "He's gonna say 'That guy disrespects our flag, he's fired.' And that owner, they don't know it. They don't know it. They're friends of mine, many of them. They don't know it. They'll be the most popular person in the country for a week. They'll be the most popular person in the country."
Trump also ripped the NFL for its declining ratings and said officials are "ruining the game" by calling too many penalties.
The president then returned to discussing the anthem protesters, asking fans to leave the stadium in response.
"But do you know what's hurting the game more than that? When people like yourselves turn on (the) television and you see those people taking the knee when they're playing our great national anthem," Trump said. "The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it's one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up (and) leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway."
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins have taken on a leading role in speaking out on social issues during Kaepernick's absence from the league. Bennett and Jenkins recently headlined a group of players that penned a memo asking commissioner Roger Goodell for his support in criminal justice reform efforts. Jenkins has been to Capitol Hill twice to speak about police-community relations and criminal justice reform, and even met with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.