Donald Trump condemned by NFL owners
Last Updated: 25/09/17 6:55am
NFL club owners have condemned Donald Trump’s comments that teams should "fire" players who protest during the national anthem.
The US president voiced his views on Friday at a rally in Alabama.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, on Saturday, released a strongly worded statement which described Trump's views as "divisive" and a demonstration of a "lack of respect".
As the Week 3 games kicked off on Sunday afternoon, Trump took to Twitter to reinforce his views.
If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
...NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
Earlier on Sunday, Goodell's sentiment was echoed across the board by the owners of teams including the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants and Green Bay Packers.
49ers owner Jed York said Trump's remarks were "callous and offensive" and "contradictory to what this great country stands for" while Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch described Trump's remarks as "inappropriate, offensive and divisive".
Former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick rose to prominence last year when he knelt during the national anthem to protest perceived racial injustice and police brutality.
Kaepernick was initially alone in his protest but soon fellow players joined him along with athletes from other sports.
The 29-year-old remains without a club after he opted out of his contract at the end of last season.
Here's a collection of the responses from NFL club owners:
The Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans all elected to stay in their locker rooms for the US national anthem during their games on Sunday.
Steelers, Seahawks, Titans skip anthem
Steelers, Seahawks & Titans remain in locker room during US national anthem
Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to kneel during the national anthem on Saturday, before the start of a regular season contest against the Texas Rangers.
Oakland issued a statement saying the team "prides ourselves on being inclusive" and supports "players' constitutional rights and freedom of expression".
James calls Trump a 'bum'
LeBron James called Donald Trump a “bum” after the US President rescinded an invitation for Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry to go to the White House.
LeBron James called Donald Trump a "bum" after he rescinded an invitation for Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry to go to the White House.
The Warriors, meanwhile, said in a statement they would plan their own trip to Washington instead of going to the White House, making the visit a celebration of "equality, diversity and inclusion".
Head coach Steve Kerr described the ongoing political situation as the "most divisive times in my life since Vietnam," and said his team's values were in stark contrast to Trump's making it difficult to "honour that institution".
"He was going to break up with us before we could break up with him," Kerr said over Trump's decision to withdraw the offer of a visit to the White House after Warriors guard Stephen Curry said his preference was to skip an event that is traditional for professional sport outfits that win a championship.
Kerr also said that his side will do their "best to try to lead and remind people out there that there's a lot of good in the world and a lot of great people" when they make their visit to Washington.
"They will for sure reflect our values as an organisation of unity and inclusiveness and compassion and empathy," Kerr added.
"Those are things important not only to guys on the team, but to our entire organisation. Those are things that are being seriously challenged in today's society. And it seems that our president is leading the charge in some of that divisiveness discourse."
Kobe Bryant also made his thoughts clear on the situation by suggesting that Trump's name inspires "division and anger."
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