At a rally in Huntsville, Alabama on Friday, President Trump denounced NFL players who kneel.
"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 right now, out, he's fired, he's fired," Trump said to roaring applause.
Trump doubled down on his call for firing players in two tweets sent out Saturday afternoon. He wrote, "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.......our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!"
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
Here's what Trump said:
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Luther and I and everyone in this arena tonight are unified by the same great American values. We're proud of our country. We respect our flag.
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 right now, out, he's fired, he's fired.
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
TRUMP: You know, some owner is going to do that. He's going to say that guy that 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 for a week, they'll be the most popular person in this country because that's a total disrespect of our heritage, that's a total disrespect of everything that we stand for, OK? Everything that we stand for.
And I know we have freedoms and we have freedom of choice and many, many different freedoms. But you know what? It's still totally disrespectful. And, you know, when the NFL ratings are down massively, massively...
The NFL ratings are down massively. Now, the number-one reason happens to be that they like watching what's happening on, you know, with yours truly.
They like what's happening. Because, you know, today if you hit too hard, right, they hit too hard, 15 yards, throw him out of the game. They had that last week. I watched for a couple of minutes and two guys just really a beautiful tackle, boom, 15 yards. The referee gets on television, his wife it sitting at home, she's so proud of him, they're ruining the game. Right?
They're ruining the game. Hey, look, that's what they want to do, they want to hit, OK? They want to hit. But it is hurting the game.
But you know what's hurting the game more than that? When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they're playing our great "National Anthem."
The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it's one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop, things will stop. Just pick up and leave, pick up and leave.
Not the same game anymore anyway.
Now, one of the things we've done, and when I say "we" it's us, together, we protect religious liberty.
Because we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the true centers of American life. In America, we don't worship government, we worship God.
Right? We cherish our magnificent Constitution and we believe judges must interpret the Constitution as written and that includes defending, as I just said, our great Second Amendment.
We support the rule of law and we stand strong with the incredible men and women of law enforcement.
We protect our citizens, uphold our traditions and we will always defend our borders.
These are Alabama values. I understand the people of Alabama. I feel like I'm from Alabama, frankly.