During Monday’s game in Glendale, Dallas Cowboys players – along with billionaire owner and Trump supporter Jerry Jones – dropped to one knee on the field prior to the National Anthem. They then stood and locked arms and sang “The Star Spangled Banner” together.
“Ratings for NFL football are way down except before game starts, when people tune in to see whether or not our country will be disrespected!” Trump began a series of tweets. “The booing at the NFL football game last night, when the entire Dallas team dropped to its knees, was loudest I have ever heard. Great anger.”
However, Trump appeared to change his tone minutes later, praising the Cowboys for standing with linked arms for the National Anthem.
“But while Dallas dropped to its knees as a team, they all stood up for our National Anthem,” he wrote. “Big progress being made-we all love our country!”
Jones spoke out against the man he backed in a postgame news conference.
“Our players wanted to make a statement about unity and we wanted to make a statement about equality,” the owner told reporters, according to The Washington Post. “They were very much aware that statement, when made or when attempted to be made in and a part of the recognition of our flag, can not only lead to criticism but also controversy.
“It was real easy for everybody in our organization to see that the message of unity, the message of equality was getting, if you will, pushed aside or diminished by the controversy. We even had the circumstances that it was being made into a controversy.”
Protests of many kinds emerged over the weekend, from players taking a knee to refusing to come out of the locker room for the anthem.
Before facing off in London, multiple players on both the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars took a knee during the national anthem on Sunday. Jaguars owner Shad Khan, the only non-white owner in the NFL, stood and linked arms with players Marcedes Lewis and Telvin Smith.
According to ESPN, several Miami Dolphins players donned ‘IMWITHKAP’ shirts ahead of their game against the New York Jets.
In August 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines — and sparked a movement — when he took a knee during the national anthem.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said at the time. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
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During a rally speech in Alabama on Friday, Trump stated, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out, you’re fired.’”
He followed this up by pouring more gasoline on the fire with a series of tweets. “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,” he wrote. “If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”
Numerous celebrities — including Diddy — have also joined in standing behind the players, causing a resurgence of the #TakeAKnee hashtag on social media.