WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- President Donald Trump said he wants to see the NFL play this season but if players “don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open.”
- The president has been open about his opposition to athletes taking a knee during the national anthem.
- Trump also slammed NBA players in the interview, saying the NBA is “in trouble” and players kneeling is “horrible for basketball.”
President Donald Trump was interviewed on Tuesday morning in Clay Travis’s Fox Sports radio show to talk about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on sports. The president talked about athletes protesting by kneeling during the national anthem.
Trump talked about Tom Brady’s move from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and discussed the NFL as a whole. He praised the NFL and team owners for working with the “government” to safely open the season amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, Trump said that he’d rather there be no NFL games this year if players continue to kneel during the anthem.
‘I hope they don’t open,’ he said.
“If they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open,” Trump said. While he hasn’t spoken to any owners about players kneeling during the national anthem, he said “they know my feelings very well, they’ve been expressed.”
Trump has praises for the NHL’s pregame social justice demonstration. It did not involve any formal kneeling from players and no Black Lives Matter protesting.
Both MLB and the NBA had pregame ceremonies that involved kneeling and Black Lives Matter messaging, and the president said he didn’t like either one. He said NBA’s demonstrations were “very nasty” and that Americans were “angry” about it. He blamed the NBA’s social justice demonstrations as the cause of their low TV ratings.
Meanwhile, the NFL has yet to announce any formal plans for organized pregame social justice demonstrations. But since the NBA, NHL, and MLB have all done something, the NFL will likely follow suit.
Trump has a message to any NFL player who will decide to kneel during the anthem.
“You have to stand for your flag, and you have to respect your flag and your country,” Trump said. “You’re making millions of dollars a year playing a sport you’d be playing anyway, they’d be playing it on the weekends. And they have to respect their country. If they don’t, frankly, if the NFL didn’t open I’d be very happy. If they don’t stand for their flag and stand strongly, I’d be very happy if they didn’t open.”