Trump Threatens NFL and Attacks ESPN host

Memorable Protests by Athletes Through the Years

It comes a day after Vice President Mike Pence walked out of a match in which players kneeled, later saying he "will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem". Colts players wore black t-shirts reading "We Will" on the front and "Stand for equality, justice, unity, respect, dialogue, opportunity" on the back.

President Trump early Tuesday said that tax laws should be altered, arguing the National Football League (NFL) receives "massive tax breaks" while its players disrespect the US flag and national anthem.

According to Van Natta and Wickersham, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, a Trump donor, said during a meeting that kneeling had to end, but that owners also had to find a honest way to listen to players' concerns.

Mr Trump later took credit for Mr Pence's protest, seen by some as a publicity stunt, tweeting that he had asked his second-in-command to leave the game between Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers if players protested.

"Understand? We will not ... if we are disrespecting the flag, then we will not play".

"As thousands have shown in the past, it takes bravery and courage to speak and confront these issues as our players have, especially when it is unpopular with some", he continued.


"There is room for (NFL) management to do the same and maybe then players do not have to risk the taunts and threats alone".

Before the Cowboys' game at Arizona on September 25, Jones and members of his family joined the players, coaches and staff on the field prior to the anthem. When the anthem was performed, they stood arm-in-arm with the players.

NFL players have reportedly said owners and management have told them to stand for the national anthem. Jones said he was unaware of their actions.

The comments caused dozens more NFL players to begin kneeling before games and prompted the league's commissioner, Roger Goodell, to criticise Mr Trump's "divisive" outbursts. Trump tweeted support for Pence on Sunday, stating that he was "proud of him".

Speaking to Sports Illustrated, an NFL spokesperson said: "The national anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the national anthem".

Kneeling during the anthem was initially started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sought to draw attention to social injustice and police brutality.

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