President Trump on Friday decried that protests during “Star-Spangled Banner” are continuing in the National Football League (NFL) without repercussions.
“Can you believe that the disrespect for our Country, our Flag, our Anthem continues without penalty to the players,” he tweeted.
“The Commissioner has lost control of the hemorrhaging league,” Trump added, referencing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Players are the boss!”
Trump was responding to a Breitbart article about New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon kneeling during the national anthem late Thursday.
Vernon’s demonstration took place before his team’s Thanksgiving night contest against the Washington Redskins.
The Redskins ultimately bested the Giants 20-10 in the clash, which took place during Week 12 of the current NFL season.
Vernon earlier this month vowed he would continue kneeling during the anthem until people recalled the original goal of the protests.
“What it would take for me to stand is if people can understand what the whole message is behind it,” he told Newsday.
“That would actually help a whole lot, but everybody doesn’t see things that way and tries to distort what the message was from the beginning, which is basically social injustice on African-Americans and police brutality,” Vernon added.
Scores of NFL employees have knelt during the anthem since Trump denounced the move during a rally last September.
Trump demanded that the NFL fire employees who performed the gesture, and he has since repeatedly labeled it unpatriotic.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the song last year to protest the nation’s racial injustice and police brutality.
The recurring demonstrations have since divided NFL fans, with some arguing they are a valid expression of free speech and others charging it is disrespectful to America’s military.