Goodell: Trump's 'divisive' comments show 'lack of respect for the NFL'

by
Mark J. Rebilas / USA TODAY Sports

(Warning: Story contains coarse language)

Commissioner Roger Goodell called President Donald Trump's criticism of NFL players who protest the national anthem "divisive" in a statement Saturday, adding that Trump's comments "demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL ... and all of our players."

Goodell's statement didn't mention Trump by name, however

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Trump ripped NFL players at a rally Friday in Huntsville, Ala., calling for any who protest during the "Star-Spangled Banner" to be fired.

"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. "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."

The president has taken shots at the NFL previously, attacking the league for its declining ratings in 2016, which he attributed to the anthem protests led by Colin Kaepernick.

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