Trump denies NFL criticism about race

Trump denies NFL criticism about race


WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump is denying that his heated criticism of professional football players who take a knee during the National Anthem to protest police violence is not about race.

“This has nothing to do with race,” Trump told reporters Sunday from Morristown, New Jersey’s Municipal Airport. “I’ve never said anything about race. This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country, and respect for our flag.”

Trump reiterated his position Monday morning on Twitter.

Trump’s statements come after a weekend in which he repeatedly weighed in on professional sports.

During a rally for Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) in Hunstville, Alabama on Friday night, Trump suggested that NFL owners should oust players who protest during the National Anthem.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘get that son of a bitch off the field?’ Trump mused.

The remark was a likely nod to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who garnered attention last year for refusing to stand during the anthem.

On Saturday, Trump then disinvited Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry to the White House after the point guard said that he was opposed to the team appearing alongside the President in Washington, D.C.

Trump then fired off additional tweets on Saturday and Sunday revisiting the NFL issue.

The fact that Trump directed criticism primarily toward black athletes on the heels of calling for ESPN to apologize after anchor Jemele Hill, who is also black, called him a white supremacist, lead to concerns among Trump’s opponents and many in the media that the President was engaging in race baiting.

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