Donald Trump had pointed criticism on the current state of the NFL on Friday night and now NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has responded.
The world of politics and sports intersect again after the NFL was the latest to be in the crosshairs of Donald Trump. On Friday, the president spoke to an audience in Huntsville, Al where he brought up the NFL and players who disrespect the flag by kneeling during the national anthem. Trump described a player who would do that as “a son of a b****” and said an NFL owner, of which he’s friends with many of them, should fire the guy.
You can watch a clip of the speech below.
Trump later went on to comment on the failing ratings for the NFL and the officiating which is trying to make the game safer for the players. The crowd loved what Trump had to say, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell termed the president’s comments as divisive and disrespectful. Goodell released a statement saying the NFL creates a sense of unity and there was a failure to understand the good things the NFL teams and players are doing.
You can read the entire statement below, courtesy of Pro Football Talk.
“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”
Several NFL players have responded and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith also released a statement saying the union will never back down when it comes to protecting players on and off the field.
The NFL pregame shows will surely be talking about Trump’s comments and the league-wide reaction to it. There could be the potential for several more players kneeling during the national anthem as a protest to Trump. This controversial issue is not likely to go away soon as sports and politics continue to merge.