President Donald Trump has ratcheted up the national controversy over black National Football League players who refuse to stand while that U.S. National Anthem is played before games.
During a Friday night political rally in Alabama, Trump called on fans to boycott teams that allow players to engage in that particular form of protest.
The league’s TV ratings have slid since quartrback Colin Kaepernick, then the leader of the San Francisco 49ers, began the trend in September 2016.
‘Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a b***h off the field right now! He is fired. He’s fired!”‘ Trump boomed.
His crowd applauded and chanted ‘USA! USA!’
The trend was started a year ago by quarterback Colin Kaepernick (center) who was then playing for the San Francisco 49ers
The outspoken president also said American football is ‘not the same game anymore’ since referees have clamped down on aggressive tackles, throwing penalty flags whenever they hear the crack of a vicious hit.
‘They are ruining the game, right?’ he asked. ‘They are ruining the game.’
Players on the field ‘want to hit,’ he complained.
‘But you know what’s hurting the game more than that?’ Trump asked. ‘When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great National Anthem.’
‘The only thing you could do better is, if you see it – even if it’s one player – leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop.’
‘Pick up and leave. Just pick up and leave.’