President Donald Trump stated that he doesn’t want the NFL season to take place if the players don’t plan on standing for the national anthem.
During a Tuesday morning interview with Fox Sports Radio, President Trump continued his long-standing feud with the NFL over the issue of standing during the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
“Well, they want to open, and they want to open badly, and they’ve been working with government,” he said.
“And I would say this, if they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open.”
“But other than that, I want to see them open, and we’re doing everything possible for getting them open, and they can protest in other ways. They shouldn’t protest our flag or our country,” President Trump added.
Kneeling during the national anthem as a form of silent protest has been happening among professional athletes for a couple of years.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the “Star-Spangled Banner” in 2016 to raise awareness about police brutality and systemic racism.
He was out of the league after that season, but, dozens of players carried on the tradition the following season. The former player drew the ire of President Trump while many conservatives accused him and others of disrespecting the flag.
The league is expected to host the season opener in less than a month. Several players have opted out of the upcoming season over concerns about spreading the coronavirus.
Many athletes are expected to kneel during this upcoming season after the issue of racial injustice was thrust back into the country’s spotlight following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.