Trump slams Roger Goodell for encouraging NFL players to take a knee, compares him to Biden for not wearing a suit
POTUS denounced the NFL commissioner for walking back on banning the league's players from kneeling during the national anthem: 'He's going to kill football'
President Donald Trump, on Sunday, August 16, slammed the National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell for walking back on banning the league's players from kneeling during the national anthem. Trump, during an appearance on 'America This Week', said: "He's going to kill football. People aren't going to watch."
The Republican leader also denounced Goodell for dressing too casually for the video announcement posted earlier this summer and compared him to former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, who made multiple virtual appearances from a makeshift television studio in his basement amidst the pandemic.
Trump, while referring to his ongoing squabble with the NFL over its players kneeling in protest, said: "I thought this was over. And then Roger Goodell, from his basement, like Biden, in a blue t-shirt as opposed to a suit – he looks much more handsome in a suit. But Roger Goodell got out and made the statement in August or July – out of nowhere – talking about this whole thing that he's doing."
Goodell released a video on NFL's official Twitter page on June 4, where he expressed regret for not listening to the league's players earlier who were protesting against police brutality. The NFL chief, in his statement, also encouraged the NFL players to kneel and peacefully protest from now on. His statement came shortly after the NFL received widespread criticism amidst the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests post George Floyd's death.
"Protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff," Goodell in the video said. "We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. Without black players there would be no National Football League."
The NFL chief's video came shortly after some of the league's players released a powerful video demanding the league to release a statement condemning racism and admit to silencing players like Colin Kaepernick from peacefully protesting.
President Trump, ever since taking office, has railed against some professional athletes for kneeling during the national anthem at the beginning of the game. The Republican has also continued to remain locked in a debate with NFL players over the kneeling protests in the country. "I thought we won this battle. I had this battle two years ago with the NFL and their ratings went down 25 per cent, their crowds stopped coming – I mean they had empty seats all over the place," Trump said during his Sunday interview.
"You know what, if I see people kneeling during our National Anthem, if I see people not respecting our country, which is represented by our flag, I will not watch a game," Trump repeated his threat. "A lot of other people agree with me."
The NFL, in June, was slammed by social media users for releasing a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement as many had pointed out the treatment the league had meted out to Kaepernick.
Kaepernick hasn’t played a down since opting out of his contract in 2016, the same year the quarterback began his protest when he was with the San Francisco 49ers. The player stirred a national controversy in an effort to protest police brutality in the country. Other players soon took his cue and joined the protest in the 2016 season, while many others have continued the protest.