National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell criticized President Donald Trump on Saturday, after the president suggested that NFL players who kneel during the pledge of allegiance should be fired.
At a rally in Huntsville, Alabama for Republican Sen. Luther Strange on Friday, President Trump said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘get that son of a b—h off the field right now — he’s fired.’”
Goodell issued a statement Saturday morning, suggesting that “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”
Last year, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during every game’s national anthem, ostensibly to protest racial inequality and police brutality. No NFL team has signed Kaepernick this year, and it’s become increasingly likely that his career in the league may be over.
In response to Goodell’s comments, the President posted the following on Twitter:
Meanwhile, during his team’s Friday media appearance, NBA Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry said he would prefer not to join his team’s traditional White House visit: “By not going, hopefully that will inspire some change in terms of what we tolerate in this country,” he said, suggesting the President’s response to Charlottesville protests in August was inadequate and biased.
Following Curry’s statement, President Trump disinvited him on Twitter, writing, “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”
According to Politico, the team’s General Manager Bob Myers says the team has been in touch with the White House, and “the door remained opened for a visit.”
A recent J.D. Power survey found that over a quarter of NFL viewers tuned out last year’s games because of national anthem protests. And last year, Rasmussen Reports found that nearly one-third (32 percent) of adults said they were less likely to watch games because of Kaepernick’s social justice agenda.