Trump Claims NFL Owners Are “Afraid” of Their Players

The dog whistles continue.

Mai/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

President Donald Trump continued attacking NFL players for protesting during the national anthem, telling Fox & Friends he believes team owners are unwilling to punish athletes because they are scared of players.

“I think they’re afraid of their players, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said. “I think it’s disgraceful. And they’ve got to be tough and they’ve got to be smart because you look at their ratings are going way down.”

The interview, which was recorded Wednesday and aired Thursday morning, comes as the latest salvo in the president’s ongoing tirade against players protesting racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. Since Friday, when he described anthem protesters as a “son of a bitch” during a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, Trump has spent every day either attacking athletes or calling on NFL officials to forbid such actions.

Many have criticized the president for fixating on the controversy, rather than the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. 

When asked what prompted his initial remarks in Alabama Friday, Trump claimed NFL owners have personally complained to the president of being trapped in a “box” over how to handle the protests. “When it comes to the respect of our nation, when it comes to the respect of our anthem and our flag—they have no choice,” he said. “You have to have people stand with respect.” 

It’s been reported Trump is using the current fight to shore up support among his base, amid fears of angering his core supporters with his recent bipartisanship work with Democrats on DACA.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate