President Donald Trump has been on a weeklong tirade against black athletes protesting racial injustice during the national anthem and stepped up the underlying racism behind the attack in an interview with Fox News Thursday.
Last Friday, Trump began his now seven-day crusade against NFL players kneeling 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 b*tch off the field right now. He is fired. He’s fired!,’” Trump said as he played the greatest hits of racial angst in an area with an unfortunate history of race relations.
Trump continued to tweet about the protests all week, urging his supporters to “boycott” the NFL unless the league forces players to stand during the Star-Spangled Banner.
Trump insisted earlier this week that the issue has nothing “to do with race,” despite the fact that the vast majority of players protesting were black and were specifically demonstrating against racial injustice in the United States.
On Thursday, Trump spoke with “Fox & Friends” Pete Hegseth and ditched his racist dog whistle for a racist bullhorn as he declared the league’s white owners are “scared” of the league’s predominantly black players.
“They are disrespecting – and when I say they, in a way it is they, because they can stop it,” Trump said. “I have so many friends who are owners and they’re in a box. I’ve spoken to a couple of them, they say, ‘we are in a situation where we have to do something.’ I think they’re afraid of their players if you want to know the truth.”
“And I think it’s disgraceful.”
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) September 28, 2017
Trump said that the protests began last year with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who the president failed to acknowledge began kneeling during the anthem after Philando Castile was killed by a police officer in Minnesota.
Trump complained that the protests grew and grew and “you saw what happened last week.”
In actuality, only nine players protested during the national anthem a week before Trump’s tirade. More than 200 players, joined by a number of head coaches, owners, and executives, protested during the national anthem after Trump’s rant.
“When it comes to the respect of our nation, when it comes to the respect of our anthem and our flag, they have no choice,” Trump said on Fox News. “You have to have people stand with respect.”
“They have rules for everything — you can’t dance in the end zone, you can’t wear the pink socks relative to breast cancer — why aren’t they honoring this country by enforcing a rule that’s been in existence for a long time?” Trump asked.
There has never been a rule requiring players to stand for the anthem. In fact, until 2009, the NFL didn’t even require players to be on the field during the anthem. Most players stayed in the locker room during the Star-Spangled Banner except during Super Bowls and after the 9/11 attacks.