President Trump can’t let his NFL feud pass.
The leader of the free world started his Sunday morning by yet again tweeting insults and veiled threats about football players protesting the national anthem — keeping his sports spat running for the third consecutive day.
“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” Trump wrote in one tweet.
He added an hour later, “…NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.”
Trump never specified what kind of “change” he was expecting to see when players keep demonstrating.
Trump’s tweets come ahead of Sunday’s football games, which are sure to feature some form of protest against the presidential pestering.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson promised in advance that he would be making “a statement” on the field during the team’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
New England Patriots CEO and Chairman Robert Kraft said in a statement Sunday he was “deeply disappointed” by the “tone” of Trump’s taunts.
“I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal,” Kraft said.
Players kneel during the national anthem
“Our players are intelligent, thoughtful and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful.”
Kraft is one of at least seven NFL team owners who donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee.
Trump kicked off the battle on Friday when he complained about the kneeling protests of the national anthem that started last year with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who said he was protesting police brutality.
Speaking at an Alabama rally, Trump called the protest “a total disrespect of our heritage,” drawing loud applause from his crowd.