Adding a new and ugly twist to one of his favorite fall-back techniques for rallying the base, President Donald Trump appeared to question either the intelligence or the motivations of professional football players who protest during the National Anthem.
“The NFL players are at it again – taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem,” Trump tweeted this morning, following last night’s kneel-downs and raised fists at some preseason games. “Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their “outrage” at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love……”
And in a second tweet, the president suggested that players should just be “happy” and “cool,” and stated, with no evidence to back it up, that “most of the money” made from NFL games “goes to the players anyway.”
“…..Be happy, be cool!,” Trump wrote, before suggesting that those not taking his advice should lose their salaries. “A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!”
Among the players who raised a fist last night was Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, whose pre-game explanation for the protests must have escaped Trump’s twitter-browsing.
“Before we enjoy this game,” Jenkins tweeted, “lets take some time to ponder that more than 60% of the prison population are people of color. The NFL is made up of 70% African Americans. What you witness on the field does not represent the reality of everyday America. We are the anomalies…”