(CNSNews.com) - President Donald Trump said at a rally in Alabama on Friday night that an NFL owner who fired players for kneeling during the national anthem would be the most popular person in the country.
“We’re proud of our country. We respect our flag,” Trump said. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say: Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired.”
When Trump said this, the crowd started chanting: “USA! USA! USA!”
“You know, some owner’s going to do that,” Trump said. “He’s going to say: That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired. And that owner, they don’t know it, they don’t know it—they are friends of mine, many of them--they don’t know it, they will be the most popular person—for a week--they will be the most popular person in this country.”
Trump condemned kneeling during the anthem as an act shows “a total disrespect for our heritage” and said that is “massively” driving down NFL ratings—together with the fact that people like to watch what he is doing.
“Because that is a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for, okay. Everything that we stand for,” said Trump. “And, I know, we have freedoms and we have freedom of choice and many, many different freedoms. But you know what, it is still totally disrespectful. And, you know what, the NFL ratings are down massively, massively. The NFL ratings are down massively. Now, the number one reason happens to be that they like watching what is happening on, you know, with yours truly.”
Trump went on to lament that referees were “ruining the game” by penalizing players when “you hit too hard” and advised fans that if they would “just pick up and leave” the stadium when players knelt during the anthem, the practice would come to a stop.
“Because today, you know, if you hit too hard, right, if you hit too hard, fifteen yards and throw him out of the game,” said Trump. “They had that last week—I watched for a couple of minutes—two guys just, really, beautiful tackle. Boom. Fifteen yards. The referee gets on television. His wife is sitting at home, she is so proud of him. They are ruining the game. Right. They are ruining the game. And, look, that is what they want to do: They want to hit. They want to hit. But it is hurting the game.
“But you know what’s hurting the game more than that is when people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking a knee when they are playing our great national anthem,” said Trump. “The only thing you can do better is if you see it, even if it is one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee, things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave. It is not the same game anymore, anyway.”