President Donald Trump does not seem to have taken kindly to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s remarks that the league was “wrong” for not listening to players who knelt during the national anthem.
Two days after Goodell’s video statement began making the rounds, Trump spoke out on Twitter, writing Sunday evening that he found the remarks “rather interesting.”
“Could it be even remotely possible that in Roger Goodell’s rather interesting statement of peace and reconciliation, he was intimating that it would now be O.K. for the players to KNEEL, or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag?” the commander-in-chief tweeted.
The president was referencing Goodell’s apology on the issue of players peacefully protesting, where the commissioner vaguely acknowledged the years-long controversy surrounding players kneeling during the national anthem.
During his video, the commissioner said, “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”
Goodell did not mention former NFL player Colin Kaepernick by name, who started the trend of kneeling during the anthem during the 2016 preseason.
Kaepernick was blacklisted from the league after becoming the first player to kneel during the anthem, which he said he did in protest of police brutality.
In the years since, players from across the league have followed Kaepernick’s lead and continue to kneel during the anthem.
President Trump has been a vocal critic of kneeling during the anthem since the social justice awareness effort took shape, arguing that it disrespects the American flag and of the lives lost during wartime.
In 2017, he began a feud with the NFL over the issue of kneeling, calling on team owners to fire those who do not stand for the anthem.
Trump’s Sunday evening tweet could signal a reemergence of the feud.
Goodell released his most recent remarks after a wave of NFL players deemed his first written statement on the murder of George Floyd — an unarmed black man killed by a white police officer — to be inadequate.
Protests and riots erupted across the nation over the past two weeks in a show of outrage against the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis.
Floyd could be heard in video of the event pleading that he could not breathe while being pinned down by since-fired Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for over eight minutes.
The video sparked a nationwide conversation about the prevalence of police brutality against minorities.
“It has been a difficult time for our country, in particular black people in our country,” Goodell said in his Friday video, offering condolences to the families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, “and all the families who have endured police brutality.”
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