Update: Proving that he was just getting warmed up earlier this morning with his latest rant against the NFL, Trump now seems to want '#StandForOurAnthem' to go viral.
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After igniting an NFL firestorm over the weekend with a series of tweetstorms bashing players who refused to stand for the national anthem (something we covered in detail here), Trump is at it again this morning with new tweets highlighting the disgruntled crowds that booed the kneeling players.
"Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!"
"The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!"
Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
Some of the loudest such 'boos' came for the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium when a number of Patriots kneeled for the anthem.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady responded to Trump's continued attacks this morning saying that he "disagrees" with the President and thinks his tweets are "just divisive." Presumably, that means that Brady is of the opinion that exploiting his star power to make a political statement is not equally divisive? Per WEEI:
“Yeah, I certainly disagree with what he said. I thought it was just divisive," Brady said. "Like I said, I just want to support my teammates. I am never one to say, ‘Oh, that is wrong. That is right.’ I do believe in what I believe in. I believe in bringing people together and respect and love and trust. Those are the values that my parents instilled in me. That is how I try and live every day. I have been blessed to be in locker rooms with guys all over the United States over the course of my career. Some of my great friends are from Florida, Virginia, New York, Montana, Colorado, Texas. The one thing about football is it brings so many guys together — guys you would never have the opportunity to be around. Whether it was in college, and all the way into the pros. We’re all different, we’re all unique. That is what makes us all special.”
"Hopefully it brings everyone together. I think that is what unity and love — like I said after the game, those are the things that concern me. When you’re in a locker room full of 53 players, you’re working to a common goal. You support the guys that you play with and you support your coaches, coaches support you. You just do the best you can do. You’re navigating through life. These things aren’t easy. Everyone deals with different challenges in their life and you respect everyone’s opinions and views. You don’t have to agree with everything. It’s hard to agree with your own wife on everything from day-to-day. I have so much respect for my teammates and what we’re trying to accomplish. Hopefully we can keep marching toward this end of the season, keep making improvements, get better and win more football games.”
Brady said he heard the boo's during and after the anthem from some in the crowd and said people can do what they want to do.
“Yeah, I did," he said. "No, I think everyone has the right to do whatever they want to do. If you don’t agree, that is fine. You can voice your disagreement, I think that is great. It’s part of our democracy. As long as it is done in a peaceful, respectful way, that is what our country has been all about.”
On the other hand, and not terribly surprisingly, NASCAR's strong condemnation of protesting the national anthem, which Richard Petty said would earn anyone on his team an immediate dismissal, drew praise from the White House. Per the Associated Press:
It appeared no drivers, crew or other team members participated in a protest during the national anthem to start the NASCAR Cup series race Sunday in Loudon, New Hampshire. Several team owners and executives had said they wouldn’t want anyone in their organizations to protest.
Richard Childress, who was Dale Earnhardt’s longtime team owner, said of protesting, “It’ll get you a ride on a Greyhound bus.” Childress says he told his team that “anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.”
Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty’s sentiments took it a step further, saying: “Anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period. What got ’em where they’re at? The United States.”
When asked if a protester at Richard Petty Motorsports would be fired, he said, “You’re right.”
So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won't put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag - they said it loud and clear!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
Of course, it's only a matter of time until we see if this controversy caused any dips in ratings for the increasingly politicized NFL.