×

Trump Doubles Down on Call to Fire NFL Anthem Protesters

President Donald Trump isn’t backing down after an online uproar over his comments that athletes should be fired for sitting out the national anthem.

“If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!” Trump tweeted on Saturday, invoking his famous “Apprentice” catchphrase.

NFL players attacked the president earlier in the day for his initial comments on Friday night. “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!'” Trump told the crowd at a rally for Republican Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange.

The National Football League denounced the remarks, with commissioner Roger Goodell calling them “divisive” and disrespectful.

“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture,” Goodell said in a statement on Saturday. “There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, 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.”

The players’ union also criticized Trump’s call to NFL owners to boot players who kneel or sit during the national anthem.

“We will never back down. We no longer can afford to stick to sports,” DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, tweeted.

Meanwhile, players bashed the president on social media.

“The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. If you do not Condemn this divisive Rhetoric you are Condoning it!!” tweeted Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks.

“It’s really sad man … our president is a asshole,” said LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills.

“Does anyone tell trump to stick to politics, like they tell us to stick to sports? Smh,” wrote Eric Ebron of the Detroit Lions.

“Trump stay in ur place… football have nothing to do wit u smh,” said Zach Brown of the Washington Redskins.

Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick was among the first to protest the national anthem. “#Kaepernick we riding with you bro,” former NFL player Reggie Bush tweeted.

Trump is also at war with another sports league: The NBA. This year’s NBA champs, the Golden State Warriors, annouced on Saturday that they will officially skip the traditional White House visit following Trump’s criticism of star player Steph Curry.

“President Trump has made it clear we’re not invited,” the team said in a statement.

Trump slammed Curry earlier in the day over his remarks that he didn’t want to visit the White House amid growing racial tension. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Chris Paul were among the NBA stars who came to his defense.

Popular on Variety

More Politics

  • U.K. Freelancers

    U.K. Government Faces Pressure From Industry on Economic Measures for Freelancers

    The U.K. government is facing increasing pressure from the creative industries after it emerged that economic measures set out for the self-employed last week by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak have yawning gaps in them. The measures may have come as a welcome move for many creative industries workers, but not all are eligible [...]

  • Andrew Yang

    Andrew Yang Sets Launch of Issues-Oriented Podcast 'Yang Speaks' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Andrew Yang bowed out of the U.S. presidential race, but the businessman-turned-politico wants to keep his policy agenda on the national media stage. Less than two months after ending his 2020 presidential campaign, he’s set plans to launch a new podcast, “Yang Speaks,” in partnership with podcast studio and network Cadence13, Variety has learned. The [...]

  • Studio Babelsberg

    Terminated 'Matrix 4,' 'Uncharted' Film Crews Demand Help From Studio Babelsberg

    Germany’s Studio Babelsberg is seeking to find a settlement with hundreds of film crew members following the shutdown earlier this month of Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix 4” and Sony Pictures’ “Uncharted” amid the coronavirus outbreak. The production stop has left many independent film crew members without pay and more than 300 have formed a working [...]

  • Queen Elizabeth

    Queen Elizabeth's Footman Diagnosed with Coronavirus (Report)

    Coronavirus remains firmly in the royal orbit as one of Queen Elizabeth’s footmen has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The royal footman, who regularly walks the Queen’s dogs and was in regular contact with the monarch, is now in self-isolation after falling ill with coronavirus, according to British tabloid The Sun. The revelation comes just [...]

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

    House Passes $2 Trillion Coronavirus Bill as Lawmakers Promise Additional Aid

    The House of Representatives passed the $2 trillion stimulus package on Friday, even as lawmakers said another rescue package would be needed. The bill passed on a voice vote. President Donald Trump signed the measure on Friday afternoon in the Oval Office. Most Americans will receive a one-time payment of $1,200 plus $500 per child. [...]

  • Chuck Schumer

    Senate Approves Massive $2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

    The Senate voted on Wednesday to approve a $2 trillion bill to cushion the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, including hundreds of billions for companies and a massive expansion of unemployment benefits. The Senate voted 96-0 to approve the measure, after two votes earlier in week failed along party lines. The House of Representatives [...]

  • Mitch McConnell

    Senate Leaders Reach Deal on $2 Trillion Coronavirus Bill

    Senate leaders and the White House have reached a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus package, which includes a large increase in unemployment insurance and hundreds of billions of dollars to aid companies harmed by the coronavirus pandemic. Shortly before 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on the Senate floor [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content