Donald Trump Says It’s ‘Game Over’ Any Time He Sees A Player Kneeling During The National Anthem
President Donald Trump said on Tuesday morning that it’s “game over” any time he sees a player kneeling during the national anthem.
In a Facebook post, Trump referenced the fact that sports are coming back soon, but that he’s not going to brook any “disrespect” when it comes to the national anthem.
“Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!” he wrote.
It’s unclear, as of this writing, what he meant by “game over.”
Trump has been clear, ever since the national anthem controversy began back in 2016, that he’s not on board with players expressing themselves by kneeling during the song.
At the time, then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick famously took a knee during the anthem during a preseason game; he would later say that he was doing so to protest police brutality. Though barely noticed at the time, it soon spread to other athletes in the NFL, and then all across amateur and professional sports, creating with it a major cultural controversy.
Trump, for his part, at one point even said that “son of a b*tch” who doesn’t stand for the anthem should be fired, as CNN Money reported at the time.
Of course, these past few months have seen little attention paid to the controversy, as there have been no sports to speak of during the coronavirus pandemic. However, some major professional sports in the United States, including NASCAR and Major League Soccer (MLS), have returned, without fans. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball is scheduled to get underway soon, with hockey and basketball soon to follow (the two former leagues planning to finish out their previous seasons, which were thwarted due to the pandemic).
With the return of sports comes the return of players kneeling during the national anthem. For example, prior to games in Major League Soccer’s “MLS Is Back” tournament, players have been seen kneeling during the anthem.
Similarly, the National Football League (NFL), which is slated to resume play this fall, appears to have reversed course on its own national anthem policy. In the wake of the George Floyd protests, Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement saying that the league had been “wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” as Deadline reported at the time.
Trump, in a tweet, made it clear that he was not having any of it.
“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?” he wrote at the time.
For now, the NFL is just starting its training camps, with a shortened preseason to begin in a few weeks.