Trump Chides NFL Players ‘at It Again’ in Kneeling During Anthem

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump called for players in the National Football League who kneel during the national anthem to be suspended without pay, reigniting the row after members of several teams knelt or raised fists this week during pre-season games.

Trump took shots at the athletes Friday morning, saying they “make a fortune doing what they love” and alleging that they are “unable to define” what they are protesting.

"The NFL players are at it again -- taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem. Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their ‘outrage’ at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love," Trump said in a posting on Twitter.

Trump and the White House have spent much of the past year waging a public relations campaign against the NFL. At an Alabama political rally last September, Trump called for firing players who take part in the protests, saying team owners should “get that son of a bitch off the field.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced May 23 a revision of its Game Operations Manual to include fines for teams whose “personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.” The National Football League Players Association filed a grievance over the policy, which was introduced after a number of players began protesting police brutality and racial injustice by kneeling during the anthem. Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, started the protest during the 2016 season.

“A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest,” Trump said in another tweet. “Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!”

Trump in June dis-invited the Philadelphia Eagles from a celebration marking the team’s Super Bowl win after only a “tiny handful” of players agreed to attend, according to a White House statement.

Many professional athletes have made plain their antipathy toward Trump, and several have publicly accused Trump of racism, citing his equivocation over white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year and other actions.

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