Trump urges fans to boycott NFL in ongoing criticism of flag-kneeling players

President Trump extended his attack on NFL players that kneel during the national anthem at a succession of tweets throughout the afternoon Sunday, indicating fans boycott games as he continued his call for team owners to “suspend or fire” the offenders.

He tweeted Sunday day: “Sports fans should never condone players that don’t stand proud for   their National Anthem or their nation. NFL should change policy!”

Before, he wrote, “If NFL fans refuse to attend matches until gamers stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you may see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!”

He explained that with this particular tweet: “…NFL attendance and ratings would be WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League must back U.S.”

The president also retweeted a supporter who posted a picture calling for a “BOYCOTT!!” of the NFL.

Trump started his criticism in earnest Friday night when he asked a crowd at a political rally in Alabama: “Would not you like to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘get that son of a b — off the area right now? Out! He is fired! He has fired.'”

When he rescinded Golden State Warrior Stephen Curry & rsquo; s invitation to the White House that spring to honor his team & rsquo; s 2017 NBA championship he continued the criticism.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the motion last year when he played for the San Francisco 49ers, refusing to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest the treatment of black people by police. Kaepernick became a free agent and hasn’t been signed with a new team for this year.

Trump’s weekend comments were met with sharp criticism from professional athletes and team owners —    including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who called the remarks “divisive,” and NBA star LeBron James, who called Trump a “buttocks. ”

“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help develop a sense of unity within our country and our civilization. There’s no better illustration than the wonderful response from our players and clubs to the terrible natural disasters we have experienced over the last month,” Goodell said. “Divisive comments like these show an unfortunate absence of admiration for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and also a failure to understand the overwhelming force for great our players and clubs signify within our communities.”

At least seven team owners contributed $1 million annually to the inaugural committee of Trump.

Los Angeles Chargers owner Dean Spanos, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, New York Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, Tennessee Titans’ commanding owner Amy Adams Strunk and San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York were one of the league powerbrokers who issued condemning statements through their clubs.

“The callous and offensive comments made by the president are contradictory to what this great country stands for,” York said. “Our participants have exercised their rights as United States citizens in order to spark conversation and actions to address social injustice. We’ll continue to support them in their peaceful pursuit of favorable change within our country and around the globe.”

Added Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy: “We believe it is important to support any of our gamers that choose to peacefully express themselves with the expectation of change for good. As Americans, we’re blessed to be able to talk publicly and openly.”

“I know our players that kneeled to the anthem, and all these are clever young men of character who want to make our planet a better place for everyone,” Ross, owner of the Dolphins, stated. “They wanted to start a dialogue and are making a difference in our community, including working with law enforcement to bring people together. All of us can benefit from learning, listening and respecting each other.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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