Although professional soccer, golf and racing have returned to competition during the COVID-19 pandemic, Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning he is “looking forward to live sports.”
But as he has pointed out multiple times, the president does not support athletes’ rights to peacefully protest during the playing of the national anthem before games.
“Any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!” Trump wrote.
At his Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally in June, Trump riffed on kneeling during the anthem, saying, “I thought we won that battle with the NFL.” Those comments came about a week after he tweeted he would not watch the NFL or U.S. soccer if players took a knee.
Trump’s most recent threat to boycott watching sports comes the day after members of the San Francisco Giants, including manager Gabe Kapler, knelt during the national anthem prior to an exhibition game. After the official MLB Twitter account posted video of the scene, a user commented on the separation of sports and politics, to which @MLB wrote: “supporting human rights is not political.”
When another user brought up disrespecting the flag and military, the account replied: “It has never been about the military or the flag. The players and coaches are using their platforms to peacefully protest.”
Kneeling has long been a hot-button issue for Trump and his supporters. In 2017, the president referred to protesting NFL players as “sons of (expletive)” and maligned Colin Kaepernick, then with the San Francisco 49ers.
On Sunday, Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks — in response to a conservative Dallas radio host’s comments echoing the president’s distaste for kneeling — said “the national anthem police are out of control.”
“If you want to complain, complain to your boss and ask why they don’t play the National Anthem every day before you start work,” he tweeted.
Read more at usatoday.com