Trump Claims NFL Owners Are “Afraid” of Their Players

The dog whistles continue.

Mai/ZUMA

President Donald Trump continued attacking NFL players for protesting during the national anthem, telling Fox & Friends he believes team owners are unwilling to punish athletes because they are scared of players.

“I think they’re afraid of their players, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said. “I think it’s disgraceful. And they’ve got to be tough and they’ve got to be smart because you look at their ratings are going way down.”

The interview, which was recorded Wednesday and aired Thursday morning, comes as the latest salvo in the president’s ongoing tirade against players protesting racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. Since Friday, when he described anthem protesters as a “son of a bitch” during a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, Trump has spent every day either attacking athletes or calling on NFL officials to forbid such actions.

Many have criticized the president for fixating on the controversy, rather than the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. 

When asked what prompted his initial remarks in Alabama Friday, Trump claimed NFL owners have personally complained to the president of being trapped in a “box” over how to handle the protests. “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,” he said. “You have to have people stand with respect.” 

It’s been reported Trump is using the current fight to shore up support among his base, amid fears of angering his core supporters with his recent bipartisanship work with Democrats on DACA.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.