Trump slams NFL chief Roger Goodell for saying he was wrong to oppose Kaepernick: 'Is it OK to kneel now?'
President Donald Trump, on Sunday, June 7, took to Twitter to question National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell's claims that the league was wrong to oppose Colin Kaepernick's kneeling protest. Trump, instead, insisted that kneeling for the national anthem was still "disrespectful".
The Republican's statement comes two days after Goodell released a video on NFL's official Twitter page on Friday, 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 league's players to peacefully protest from now on.
You can watch the video here.
"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?" Trump, in a tweet, asked.
The NFL chief's apology came shortly after some of the league's players, including Saquon Barkley, Patrick Mahomes and Odell Beckham Jr, released a powerful video on Thursday, June 4, demanding the league to release a statement condemning racism and admit to silencing players like Colin Kaepernick from peacefully protesting.
Goodell, in his response to the video, stated: "Protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality, and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff. I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve."
"We the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people," Goodell continued. "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." The NFL chief also noted that it had been a difficult time for Americans, particularly black Americans, and offered his condolences to the families that have "endured police brutality."
"Without black players there would be no National Football League," Goodell added.
Trump, hours before Goodell's apology, had tweeted, renewing calls for the kneeling protests to stop. "We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart," Trump tweeted. "There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag - NO KNEELING!" he had written.
The NFL, earlier this month, 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.
Kaepernick's move drew heavy criticism from President Donald Trump, who even called for the owners of the NFL teams to fire the players who were participating in it. The NFL, last year, in 2017, announced a rule which required all the players to stand during the national anthem. The association, however, gave an option to the players to stand off the field until the ceremony was over instead of kneeling outside.