President Trump, who has portrayed himself as a defender of free speech and foe of political correctness, told Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade in an interview aired Thursday that NFL players should be barred from the field—and should perhaps even leave the U.S.—if they seek to protest.
“You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing,” Trump said in the interview. “You shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
Trump was commenting on a new NFL policy, unveiled Wednesday, to handle players who have kneeled, sat, or raised a fist in protest during the playing of the national anthem before football games. Players will no longer be required to be on the field during the anthem, but if they do not stand, they could be fined. The president was generally positive about the policy, but added, “I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms.”
The president’s comments are the latest volley in his war of words with NFL players. The feud burned hottest last September, when he said at a rally in Alabama, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’”
But Trump’s demand that players be on the field, his suggestion of mandatory standing, and his idea that protesters should leave the country once again spotlights a dissonance in his thinking. Trump has claimed that religious people are not free to speak their minds (including saying “Merry Christmas”), and he decried efforts to prevent speakers like the conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos from addressing students at the University of California, Berkeley. Yet at the same time, the president is infuriated by athletes, most of them black, …read more
Via:: The Atlantic