Trump thinks NFL owners should say "get that son of a b---- off the field" to national anthem protestors.
Donald Trump has weighed in on the wave of national anthem protests in the NFL—the president thinks NFL owners should fire those who kneel during the national anthem.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say: "Get that son of a b---- off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired," Trump said as he stood in front of a giant American flag at a campaign rally for Alabama senator Luther Strange.
Though he did not name any names, Trump is ostensibly referring to NFL players who have chosen to protest during the national anthem to draw attention to what they perceive as racial injustice in America. The protests were started by Colin Kaepernick, who is not on an NFL roster currently.
This season, stars such as Marshawn Lynch, Marcus Peters and Michael Bennett have kneeled during the anthem. A number of other players have protested in some form, including raising a fist.
Trump spoke further about the protests.
"That's a total disrespect for our heritage," he said, per The Toronto Star's Daniel Dale . That's a total disrespect of everything we stand for."
Trump also spoke at length about why the league's television ratings are down and decried recent rule changes aimed at increasing player safety.
"When the NFL ratings are down massively, massively," the president said. "The NFL ratings are down massively. Now the number one reason happens to be they like watching what's happening...with yours truly. They like what's happening. Because you know today if you hit too hard—15 yards! Throw him out of the game! They had that last week. I watched for a couple of minutes. Two guys, just really beautiful tackle. Boom, 15 yards! The referee gets on television, his wife is sitting at home, she's so proud of him. They're ruining the game...They want to hit! It's ruining the game."
Trump's full comments on the NFL are below.
On Saturday, Trump elaborated on his comments made at the rally.
If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
...our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
It is not the first time the president has railed against player safety rules.
"Concussion? Oh, got a little ding on the head, no, no you can't play for the rest of the season," Trump said in October.