NFL Union Slams Trump over Right to Protest

The NFL Players Association said Saturday that they “will never back down” from supporting players’ right to protest, The Hill reports. The statement came following President Donald Trump claims that people should “pick up and leave” NFL games if players kneel as a form of protest during the national anthem.

“Whether or not NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners will speak for themselves about their views on player rights and their commitment to player safety remains to be seen. This union, however, will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement.

During a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange on Friday night, Trump said that NFL players will stop kneeling if crowds started leaving games.

“When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem – the only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop.” Trump stressed.

Trump added that NFL owners should fire players if they refuse to stand during the national anthem. Multiple NFL players have fired back at Trump, with one Washington Redskins player telling him to “stay in your place” following his comments, The Hill adds.

Trump has previously attacked NFL player Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem to protest the treatment of people of color in America, suggesting that the player remains an unsigned, free agent because he wouldn’t stand for the anthem.

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