Trump says Colin Kaepernick 'should not kneel' during national anthem after backing quarterback's NFL return

Trump says Colin Kaepernick 'should not kneel' during national anthem after backing quarterback's NFL return
(Getty Images)

POTUS Donald Trump offered his support to former NFL player Colin Kaepernick and is all for him getting a second shot at NFL. However, just hours after backing Kaepernick's return, Trump said all NFL players should stand during the national anthem. Trump opened up about Kaepernick while doing an interview with Sinclair correspondent Scott Thuman. Trump said he would "love to see him get another shot" if he had the skills to play in the league. However, the president later said, "When the national anthem plays, and our flag — the great American flag — is raised, you should not be kneeling. You should be standing, ideally with your hand on your heart, or saluting, but they should not be kneeling."

He also called NFL 'weak' and singled out Drew Brees. While speaking of Brees, he said, "He made a beautiful statement and then the next day he retracted it...and I just don't get that. You have to stand when the flag goes up." Kaepernick had made headlines in 2016 when he took the knee during the national anthem.

Trump was asked whether the ex-San Fransisco 49er "should get another shot in NFL", Fox News reports. To this Trump responded, "If he deserves it, he should. If he has the playing ability. He started off great and then he didn't end up very great in terms of as a player. He was terrific in his rookie year, I think he was very good in his second year, and then something happened. So his playing wasn't up to snuff. The answer is absolutely I would. As far as kneeling — I would love to see him get another shot, but obviously he has to play well. If he can't play well, I think it would be very unfair." 

Last year in August, Trump had said something similar to White House reporters. "I'd love to see Kaepernick come in if he's good enough. But I don't want to see him come in because somebody thinks it's a good PR move," Trump had said. 

POTUS Donald Trump would love to see Colin Kaepernick get a second chance in NFL (Getty Images) 

Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016. Since leaving NFL, Kaepernick has been emersed in many social activism organizations and he also founded the 'Know Your Rights Camp' which aims to teach young children about self-empowerment, American history and legal rights. He was also able to strike a multi-million dollar deal with sports giant Nike. 

POTUS had previously been a vocal critic of Kaepernick and other players who had taken the knee during the national anthem. "Get that son of a b***h' off the field right now, out. He's fired. He's fired!" Trump said of kneeling players during a 2017 rally for Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange in Alabama. Recently, Trump had taken to his Twitter handle to question NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's claims that the league was wrong to oppose Kaepernick's kneeling protest. Trump tweeted saying, "Could it be even remotely possible that in Roger Goodell’s rather interesting statement of peace and reconciliation, he was intimating that it would now be OK for the players to KNEEL, or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag?" Goodell had released a video where he expressed his regret at dismissing and shutting out the league's players who had been protesting against police brutality. In his statement, the NFL chief also urged the league's players to protest in a peaceful manner.

Goodell also recently revealed that he would be looking to "encourage" teams to sign Kaepernick before the upcoming season. "If he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it's gonna take a team to make that decision. But I welcome that, support a club making that decision, and encourage them to do that," he said, News18 reveals.

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