Three days after U.S. Soccer announced it was repealing a policy that required players to stand during the national anthem, President Donald Trump weighed in on the matter.
Quote-tweeting a story from a local ABC news outlet in Florida, in which Florida representative Matt Gaetz said "I’d rather the US not have a soccer team than have a soccer team that won’t stand for the National Anthem," Trump said on Saturday, "I won't be watching much anymore!"
In its announcement about the repeal, U.S. Soccer apologized for not listening to its players, who were vocal about supporting rights to peaceful protests.
“We have not done enough to listen—especially to our players—to understand and acknowledge the very real and meaningful experiences of Black and other minority communities in our country," U.S. said in a statement. "We apologize to our players—especially our Black players—staff, fans, and all who support eradicating racism. Sports are a powerful platform for good, and we have not used our platform as effectively as we should have. We can do more on these specific issues and we will."
On Monday, Trump tweeted about a video released by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in which Goodell admitted the league was wrong to not support Colin Kaepernick when he began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016. In the video, Goodell's statement included support for the Black Lives Matter movement:
"We, the National Football League, condemn racism, and the systematic oppression of Black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest," Goodell said. "We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter."
In response, Trump questioned Goodell's motives for releasing the video, suggesting the commissioner was encouraging players to kneel during the anthem, "thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag."
Last week, Trump tweeted in support of Saints quarterback Drew Brees' comments about not agreeing with anyone who kneels during the anthem. Brees later apologized for his remarks, but Trump said he shouldn't have issued an apology. Brees later countered Trump's praise, saying of kneeling during the anthem: "This is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been."