Donald Trump Responds to NFL Anthem Protests (UPDATE)

In other news, the Pittsburgh Penguins stepped up to visit the White House.

NFL Kneel

Image via Getty/Brett Carlsen

NFL Kneel

UPDATED September 24 6:30 p.m. ET:

During an impromptu presser that took place on Sunday afternoon on the tarmac of Morristown Municipal Airport, Trump reportedly said that his unrelenting criticisms of the NFL and their players over national anthem protests has "nothing to do with race."

"This has nothing to do with race," Trump said. "I never said anything about race. This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country and respect for our flag." When a member of the White House press pool asked if he believes a player who chooses to kneel should be "fired," the president dodged the question and instead said that this manner of protest is "very [disrespectful] to our flag and to our country." He also added that team owners should "do something about it," without clarifying what that "something" is.

Shortly after making those comments he also sent out another tweet which appears to say that the NFL should change their policy to make players stand for the anthem:

He also said that his supporters should make up their own minds whether to boycott the league or not:

There's no way this is anywhere close to the end of this.

Read the original story below.

Professional athletes across all sports, but particularly football, took collective political stances this weekend. Most were in defiance of President Donald Trump, however, there have been others who have been compliant. 

Following Trump's comments about the NFL firing any player who chose to kneel during the national anthem, over 100 NFL players took this as a battle cry of sorts. The entire Pittsburgh Steelers team opted out of participating in the national anthem, instead choosing to remain in the locker room (although one Steeler, Alejandro Villanueva, chose to stand in the tunnel). Tom Brady, who was evidently conflicted over whether or not to be allegiant to his team or not, decided to lock arms with a teammate while maintaining his right hand over his heart. But Donald Trump was down af. In seemingly direct response to Brady's action, Trump replied: 

However, in response to Trump's declaration of good and bad, one Twitter user @DonnaWR8 created a graphic resembling the Confederate flag, which reads: BOYCOTT!!

The resemblance to the Confederate flag was not taken lightly by other users. 

Unfortunately, these signs of racist defiance are no longer surprising or met with the same level of outrage in the age of Trump. 

In the basketball/hockey realm, because Donald Trump has proved himself to be an unapologetic racist countless times, it came to little surprise when Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors rejected Drumpf's invitation to visit his evil lair. Feeling a little rejected and emotionally vulnerable, Trump quickly found a rebound in the form of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The team, who just won their second consecutive Stanley Cup in June, issued a statement accepting the president's invitation:

"The Pittsburgh Penguins respect the institution of the Office of the President, and the long tradition of championship teams visiting the White House. We attended White House ceremonies after previous championships - touring the historic building and visiting briefly with Presidents George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama - and have accepted an invitation to attend again this year."

Trump then had to follow up with a Tweet, reminiscent of that random aunt we all have who sends messages that read like telegrams:

However going to the President's home court and allowing him the opportunity to take partial credit for your successes is the furthest thing from taking a stand against his policies. In the age of Trump, it's imperative that we resist. 

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