Trump Says "Not About Race" As NFL Players, Owners Defy Calls To Stand For National Anthem

Tyler Durden's picture

Update (6:45 pm ET): More NFL teams are pushing back against President Donald Trump's call for the NFL to "change its policy" to stop players from kneeling for the National Anthem. The Tennessee Titans announced they are joining the Seattle Seahawks in deciding not to come out for the national anthem. The Seahawks announced nearly 30 minutes before kickoff that they would not stand because they “will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country.”

The Titans followed 10 minutes later by saying they too would remain in the locker room during the national anthem. They posted a statement on their website noting they want to be unified as a team with the players deciding jointly that staying inside was the best course of action.

Looks like the approach of staying in the locker room, where players are hidden from public view, is catching on after the Pittsburg Steelers tried it earlier today.

So get used to seeing images like this:

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* * *

Update (5:50 pm ET): At an impromptu press conference at his private golf club in Bedminster, NJ, President Trump emphatically insisted that his comments about professional athletes who kneel during the National Anthem had nothing to do with race. On Friday evening, Trump suggested that anyone who kneels for the anthem is a "son of a b***h" who deserves to be fired.

"This has nothing to do with race. I've never said anything about race."

He reiterated that standing for the anthem is a matter of respect for our country, and believes the owners should take a stand in defense of American values.

"I think the owners should do something about it. it's very disrespectful to our flag and our country."

He also tweeted that athletes "MUST honor and respect" the flag, which so many brave Americans fought and died for.

* * *

Update (2:30 pm ET): Trump has chimed in on twitter to offer his latest thoughts about athletes protesting at professional sporting events, clarifying that "locking arms" during the National Anthem as a gesture of solidarity is ok, but that taking a knee is still unacceptable:



Trump also revealed that the Pittsburgh Penguins, the current NHL champions, would be attending a ceremony at the White House.



* * *

Update (1:30 pm ET): This afternoon's round of NFL games has begun and as expected players from nearly every team playing today took a knee during the National Anthem, locked arms in solidarity with players who decided to take a knee, or - in the case of the Pittsburg Steelers - remained in the locker room, and thus weren't visible to the public.

In Philadelphia, Eagles and Giants players and coaches  locked arms as a massive American flag was raised over the field and military jets performed a flyover. A few players raised fists or knelt, according ot the New York Times. Several players on the Bills and the Broncos also took a knee.

The Steelers didn't participate in the Anthem, as coach Mike Tomlin had warned, remaining in the locker room instead - except for LT Alejandro Villanueva, an army veteran who stood by the tunnel with his hand over his heart.

Even Tom Brady, who as NYT notes is friends with Trump,  jooined his teammates in locking arms during the anthem before the Patriots' game against the Texans In Foxborough. Brady also put his hand over his heart.


Other Patriots players kneeled.

Here's one memorable photo from the Steeler's sideline:

Players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Texans also locked arms

* * *

Update (12:00 pm ET): The player backlash to Trump's calls for sports leagues to fire or suspend players who kneel during the National Anthem is expanding as superstar players like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have posted messages of solidarity with protesters on social media.



#unity #brotherhood #family #dedication #love #

A post shared by Aaron Rodgers (@aaronrodgers12) on


Also, the Pittsburgh Steelers have announced that they will remain in the locker room during the Anthem during a 1 p.m. ET game against the Chicago Bears in Chicago.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made the announcement during an interview with CBS.



"For us as a football team it's about us remaining solid. We're not going to be divided by anything said by anyone. I told the players if you feel the need to do anything I will be supportive of that, as Americans you have that right, but whatever we do, we're going to do 100% we're going to do together...we're not going to play politics with football players or football coaches. We're not participating in the anthem today.  We're not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda. We're not participating in the remove ourselves from this circumstance...because people shouldn't have to choose."

* * *

Update (11:30 am ET): During an appearance on ESPN's "NFL Sunday Countdown", a football show that this week was coopted by politics, former Buffalo Bills and New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan admitted that he was "pissed off" about President Donald Trump referring to pro athletes who don't stand for the pledge as "sons of bitches" and urging fans to boycott the league, or at least walk out of stadiums when they see players protesting.

“I’m pissed off, I’ll be honest with you,” Ryan said on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown.” “I supported Donald Trump. When he asked me to introduce him at a rally in Buffalo, I did that. But I’m reading these comments and it’s appalling to me and I’m sure it’s appalling to any citizen in our country.”


“Calling our players SOBs and all that kind of stuff? That’s not the men that I know,” Ryan, who's  now an analyst, continued. “The men I know in the locker room, I’m proud of, I’m proud to be associated with those people.”

As the Hill notes, Ryan introduced Trump at a rally in Buffalo during the 2016 election and endorsed him for president.



Earlier, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who also supported Trump during the campaign, said he was "deeply disappointed" in the president.

* * *

Update (10:35 ET): Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has become the first senior Trump administration official to publicly address Trump's feud with the NFL and NBA - the president called for fans to boycott the NFL unless owners fire or discipline players who kneel during the National Anthem - saying the issue wasn't about free speech and that players have first amendment rights when they're off the field.

"The NFL has all different types of rules ... it's not about free speech. They can do free speech on their own time," Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

Mnuchin, of course, offered his thoughts about what Trump “was really trying to say” when he lashed out at sports teams. Trying to interpret or clarify Trump’s remarks to make them seem less wild/offensive/inarticulate has become common practice among members of the Trump administration. “I think what the president is saying is that owners should have a rule that players should stand and respect the national anthem” likening it to a rule about not placing stickers on helmets.



Marc Short, the president’s legislative director, has also backed his boss, telling "Meet the Press" that a double standard for players who chose to voice their views on the field, and that the president was speaking for the majority of Americans on what sort of expression was appropriate. Short compared a crackdown on protests to the ban on high school football coaches leading players in prayer before games.

“There are high school coaches across America today who are punished for leading their players in prayer, and yet, when an N.F.L. player takes a knee, somehow that player is presumed to be a martyr for a social cause,” Mr. Short said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The president is standing with the vast majority of Americans who believe that our flag should be respected.”

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Update (10:20 am ET): It's 10:30 ET am on a Sunday morning, and already there have been several notable developments in President Trump's feud with professional sports teams who tolerate players who kneel during the National Anthem. During the first NFL game since the feud started to escalate on Saturday, at least a dozen players on the Jacksonville Jaguars took a knee during the National Anthem at a game in London against the Baltimore Ravens, as Sports Illustrated reports.

Players from both teams stood during the playing of "God Save the Queen", though players linked arms during the song. Jaguars owner Shad Khan linked arms with Jaguars tight end linebacker Telvin Smith. Khan, who like Kraft also donated to the Trump campaign, said he would not be issuing a statement about the feud, and referred reporters to a league statement.




Meanwhile, last night, Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to take a knee, as Bleacher Report noted.

"The Oakland A's pride ourselves on being inclusive," the team said in a statement. "We respect and support all of our players' constitutional rights and freedom of expression."

Manager Bob Melvin told Bleacher Report that Maxwell informed the team before the game that he intended to kneel. Melvin added that Maxwell had deeply considered whether to kneel or not. Maxwell later issued a statement on twitter where he said he didn't mean to disrespect the military by kneeling. "It's not disrespectful to our constitution. It's not to disrespect our country. My hand was over my heart because I love this country. I've had plenty of family members, including my father, that have bled for this country."



MLB also released a statement:

"Major League Baseball has a longstanding tradition of honoring our nation prior to the start of our games. We also respect that each of our players is an individual with his own background, perspectives and opinions. We believe that our game will continue to bring our fans, their communities and our players together."

We imagine we'll see more gestures like this during NFL games set in the US later today.

* * *

Trump's bizarre, concurrent fight with the NBA and NFL, in which he slammed players who kneel during the US anthem and also rescinded an invitation to Warriors' star Stephen Curry, escalated on Sunday morning when Trump blasted a couple of tweets first saying that "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!" The president added that "NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S."

This led to one of Trump's closest allies, New England Patriots Chariman and CEO Robert Kraft, issuing a statement shortly thereafter in which he slammed Trump's Friday comments.

The Patriots owner, who donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration committee and gave Trump a custom Super Bowl ring, issued a strongly worded rebuke to the president Sunday morning in the wake of Trump's criticism of the NFL and its players.

"I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday," Kraft wrote. "I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities. Their efforts, both on and off the field, help bring people together and make our community stronger.

"There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics. I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal. 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.”

Separately, Patriots tackle Nate Solder tweeted earlier on Sunday that his team is united despite any differences of opinion among players about the protests.

Previously on Saturday, several NFL owners and commissioner Roger Goodell had already issued statements Saturday after Trump's feud with players who have taken a knee in protest during the national anthem. The president criticized those protests at a rally Friday in Alabama and repeated them on Twitter both Saturday and Sunday morning.

stand or kneel, that's a free choice, you won't see any division in this locker room over that, we respect each other too much.

— Nate Solder (@soldernate) September 24, 2017

Widespread player action is expected before Sunday's games.

As the New York Times pointe dout, the feud has struck a chord with many of Trump’s core supporters, some of whom applauded him on social media for his stance. But he has also been criticized by prominent athletes like LeBron James. Many NFL franchise owners and coaches are donors or friends of the president.

Below is the full statement from Patriots Chairman & CEO Robert Kraft:

"I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday. I am proud to be associated with so many plagers who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities. Their efforts, both on and off the field, help bring people together and make our community stronger. There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics. I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of  teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal. 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."

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dogismycopilot's picture

Yeah, well I am really fuking dissapointed in the Patriot's response.

GlassHouse101's picture

I'm sure these people would support the local Pro-Life march, as well.

Escrava Isaura's picture

People don’t go to games because it’s too expensive.

The disrespect of other Americans don’t come from players.


Looney's picture


Robert Kraft and Janet Yellen have the same problem – they can’t control INFLATION.  ;-)


Took Red Pill's picture

This is a surprising response from Kraft as Trump was quite nice to him after his wife died;

J S Bach's picture

Don't you DARE criticize (((Mr. Kraft))) nor his ungrateful simian pig-skinners.  They're doing (((his kind's))) bidding in tearing down all morals, standards and honor in our lands.

ACP's picture

I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities...

Apparently he forgot about the serial killer who played on his team.

Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

I know this is a difficult pill for jews and boomercucks to swallow but White people now have their own identity and they can affect social change by not paying for this shit.

3LockBox's picture

Another NFL talking head that just doesn't get it!

It will be too late...

More Talking Heads:

Watch out you might get what you're after
Cool baby strange but not a stranger
I'm an ordinary guy
Burning down the house!

Hold tight wait till the party's over
Hold tight we're in for nasty weather
There has got to be a way
Burning down the house!


BaBaBouy's picture

Bloated NFL Called out ...

Spoiled Brats... Too Much money...


shankster's picture

Too much money for lousy playing.

The Alarmist's picture

So Trump should order the bombing of the Pats stadium to show Kim how tough he can be when he's really mad.

macholatte's picture


Citizens turn off their TV’s and boycott beer during all NFL games.

What Trump is doing is truly stupid. The above headline will never happen. The sheeple will always vote for mind numbing recreational activities like watching someone else do something and believing they are participating some how because “their team” won.... and it ain’t peculiar to Americanos. Dipshit soccer fans destroy entire stadiums when “their team” loses. Humans often exhibit very bizarre behavior. And now the kneeling thing has become some kind of bonding mechanism for the fan-atics.

Manthong's picture


AMF major league sports.

The majority of Americans will not pay to see some kind of ball knocked around as a sideshow to a political protest or false racial narrative.

Go take the family to the park or museum instead…

You will be better off for it.

SafelyGraze's picture

next up:

the league requires every player to take a knee

and enforcement

knee-enforcers. with dogs. and batons.

because more requirements. and obedience.

face the flag, son. kneel. bow your head.

john wayne 


Manthong's picture


“AMF major league sports.”

 .. if you are single… instead, go to the library, go to church or go to the bar.

You will be some combination of smarter, more fulfilled, and/or happy.

If you pick up a chick in the library, you could be all three.

mc888's picture

church might be a good place to pick up desperate women with low self-esteem. almost as good as the single girls on valentine's day.

IH8OBAMA's picture

No more NFL-NBA-MLB for this kid.  They can't resprect me and my country then I don't need to be supporting their advertizers and sponsors.  Those over paid players can go find real jobs when their fan base dries up, their stadiums close and the TV networks won't put them on the tube.

They made their decision and I and millions of others are making ours.

Billy the Poet's picture

Just sent this email and left similar message on two Pittsburgh Steelers phone lines.



If you want folks to watch your games you'll have to apologize for your anti-American protests and your bigotry against white people. You can't insult people and expect them to be your fans.


Administrative offices
Pittsburgh Steelers
3400 South Water Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203-2349
Phone: (412) 432-7800
Fax: (412) 432-7878
(resumes can be sent to H



Marketing offices
Pittsburgh Steelers
100 Art Rooney Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15212-5721
Phone: (412) 697-7181

Richard Chesler's picture

The NFL is about to get Kathy Griffithed.

Fuck these overpaid apeclowns!

3LockBox's picture

Oh my the NFL is going all in! hahaha

Can you short the NFL?

Short all the advertisers! This is going to be fabulous!

Billy the Poet's picture

I can't see any way that these actions increase their fan base. They can only hurt. Such behavior is bizarre to say the least.



IMAGINE THAT, is trending #1 and is being censored by twitter and not trending with over 75+ tweets a min!



Graphic with list of NFL sponsors:



3LockBox's picture

The crowds will say it all...They can't censor that...

It may not be today...

But at least by next week there will be huuuuge effects.

Stay tuned....nothing better than to see these clowns in a bubble get wiped out financially.

Billy the Poet's picture
Alejandro Villanueva only Steeler on Field For Anthem. Steelers Booed.




David Johnson WPXI
Steelers getting roundly booed as they enter the stadium post National Anthem.
Manthong's picture


OK Donald..

You lit the fuse…

Now get the F away from this and get back to work.

The market will stick around for the explosion and subsequent implosion.

Start addressing the DoJ like you have addressed the NFL.


eclectic syncretist's picture

I served in the goddamn Marine Corp, and if these spoiled brats can't tell the difference between their crybaby phantasms and their country they can all fuck off, move out, and find regular jobs like everybody else, Goodbye NFL!

bobbbny's picture

Solidarity with what exactly?

ergatz's picture

Piece of cloth and archaic music notes. Patriotism is a fallacy.

beemasters's picture

Update: Congress is having a National Anthem session. Politicians with dual Israel-American citizenship decide to kneel...before Israel flags. Others follow to show solidarity for the Middle East nation. AIPAC motoring and doing a head count. Trump cheers.

Manthong's picture


“Robert Kraft and Janet Yellen have the same problem – they can’t control INFLATION.  ;-)”



Tom Brady seemed to know how.


Slack Jack's picture

How real wars are fought,....

Proof that Adolf Hitler was a double agent.

It seems pretty weird when you first read it, but its clearly true.

Manthong's picture


I think this is great. I never got to see packs of lemmings dive head first off of a cliff.

These rich athletes are either hypocrites or dupes of the false racial narrative of the hypocrites.

If they had a case, this could not happen in America:

How grit, determination, friends rescued one homeless teen

BTW, it was mostly white supremacists that gave this kid the boost up.

Niles is a vastly majority white suburb.


jeff montanye's picture

this rather lovely confrontation seems to me a win win.  

spectator sports, one of the great opiums of the masses, now disabuses one faction, those sympathetic to the "protest" about the anthem, of the kneejerk "patriotic" response to flag and national anthem symbolism, and, perhaps, to the government, military, and other manifestations such as wars, clandestine services and so forth.  perhaps that doesn't change so much when the next democratic administration appears.  this seems helpful to me.

the other faction, still vulnerable to flag and national anthem symbolism and perhaps the core of support for "opium of the masses" spectator sports, now sees spectator sports as opposed to its core values and ceases to support such "entertainment".  what further conclusions are drawn and what now fills this time are less clear but on balance this result too seems helpful to me.

again, thanks president trump.  not sure hillary would have made the most of these circumstances.


Hugh_Jorgan's picture

NFL doubles down on stupid AGAIN.

Yep, they and POTUS Trump have gone... Full Retard.

The whole thing is a very weak demonstration in the first place. Taking a knee almost looks respectful in some way like bowing your head in prayer. Not to mention, that when asked they can't even articulate a good take-down of the government and all it's obvious evils. If you're going to go through with $h!tting the bed, at least make it epic. If these ignorant ingrates had any cojones they would turn their back to the flag and face opposite of the fans and Refs, arms folded. But they are cowards and so like children they do a half-assed, poorly-formed, pseudo-protest akin to peeing one's pants like a petulant child. Worse is the NFL management FOLLOWING and mimicking this banal, asinine tantrum. Then to top the whole thing off you have our loudmouth douche-POTUS legitimizing this idiocy by repeatedly screaming at these children and their friends (that ought to know better) to quit wetting their pants! The whole scene is beyond the pale.

Escrava Isaura's picture

bee, thanks for the update. It was pretty good.


bobbbny's picture

It is, (patriotism) however, far more palitable than globalism.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

The victimhood of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin is your fallacy. Once they stop lumping them in with abused citizens then I will listen to a word coming out of their mouths.

de3de8's picture

My thoughts exactly, solidarity with what? Entitled and spoiled buffoons who think they are on the right side of this. Can you imagine if the were called up to serve, probably set a PB in the 40 heading in the other direction

lincolnsteffens's picture

Yep, I've heard it all before. "America, love it or leave it!!".

Did you ever stop to think maybe these guys are patriotic but none the less upset enough to dare to make a public statement? What we need is fewer snap to attention automatons and more peaceful protesters. It is the divide and conquer theme. We have become arm chair experts spouting only what the media and politicians feed us. If we continue on that path it only leads to ruination.   Angry patriotism as an immediate response with an instant "fuck you" pouring out instead of "I wonder why these guys are doing this?" is a programmed response called mind control which one can tell by the comments displayed by the majority on ZH. This is surprising to me as I view most of the people that post on ZH question almost everything from officialdom unfavorably. 

PrintemDano's picture

Agreed.  However they have nothing justifiable to protest.  Let's face it this "protest" is nothing but a show of support for white hating & cop murdering thugs. F the NFL.  I used to be glued to the tube for these scumbags.  Fuck em.

detached.amusement's picture

I could understand if it was the illegal invasions being protested, but where they're basically just protesting trump....get that bullshit out of here.

I stopped watching NFL after about ninety too many events of refs making sure ambiguous events got called for the betting tables.


Which is precisely what I like about the NHL, because there's just not much room for interpretation by the refs.  No wonder the networks dont carry games and I get to watch like 2 games a year.

detached.amusement's picture

had to downvote just for linking zuckbook

Bob's picture

now that i understand  had to upvote you for that

kermudgen's picture

I am wondering why they are doing it.


At first wasn't it about police abuse?

Then it became a thing about equality.

Now it's about people with no voice...?


I don't think you are going to see to many more industires or brands trying this.  I thought marketing strived to keep and hold customers?  It would be hard to get customers to be loyal to a product if the product can't stay loyal to the home of it's creation.


Come on Hockey season!  

Bigern's picture

I am wondering why they are doing it.


At first wasn't it about police abuse?

Then it became a thing about equality.

Now it's about people with no voice...?


They are moving this somewhere. The new narrative will be:


Suppression of those who are deemed intolerant, oppressive, repugnant, and dangerous to liberty.


Of course, they will control the narrative and identification of who is who.

Offthebeach's picture

Who's paying you, and how much?

Also, are you taking new clients?

J S Bach's picture

"I served in the goddamn Marine Corp, and if these spoiled brats can't tell the difference between their crybaby phantasms and their country they can all fuck off"

You served the jew who controlled the goddamned Marine corps, sir.  And if you can't tell the difference between your phantasms of "freedom & democrazy" and what your masters actually intended as your brothers murdered countless innocents abroad, then well...

Powder's picture

Beta male alert.. or Alpha Puss... take your pick. J S Back, you are not demonstrating your prowess hiding behind your keyboard. 82 Airborne here and wondering what you've done. Share with us please. 

Conscious Reviver's picture

Military Intelligence here, I won't say what group and you flunked Powder. Jumping out of planes you must have landed on your head too many times. Either that or you are a cyrpto trying to steer the herd from Tel Aviv.  Which is it? Go read some Smedley Butler.

All wars are Bankster wars. Try to get your head around that.

J. S.  Bach has the balls to speak the truth. That makes him the Alpha and you the well behaved toady.  I'm sure Jon Corzine, Jaime Dimond and Lloyd Blankfein approve your message, but that doesn't make you a patriot. It makes you something else entirely.