Donald Trump accuses NFL players of ‘total disrespect’ as protests continue

Donald Trump has launched his latest attack on the NFL, after players continued to protest during and before the national anthem on Sunday

Donald Trump has launched his latest attack on the NFL, after players continued to protest during and before the national anthem on Sunday.

Players across the league have been continuing the movement, which was started last season by Colin Kaepernick, to bring attention to racial injustice in the United States. Members of the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks knelt during the anthem on Sunday. Members of other teams either raised their fists or stayed in the tunnel while the anthem was played.

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

Two dozen NFL players continue to kneel during the National Anthem, showing total disrespect to our Flag & Country. No leadership in NFL!

October 23, 2017

On Monday morning, Trump tweeted his displeasure. Two dozen NFL players continue to kneel during the National Anthem, showing total disrespect to our Flag & Country, he wrote. No leadership in NFL! The presidents viewpoint will play well in large parts of America. Surveys have shown a majority of white Americans disapprove of the protests; in contrast a majority of African Americans view the players stance favorably.

Trumps comments are another headache for the NFL. The leagues television ratings are down this season, although it is not clear whether this is directly linked to the protests, as TV sports audiences have fallen across America.

Some NFL owners have also expressed concern that the protests could affect the leagues bottom line. The Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, said he will bench any player who kneels during the anthem and has said sponsors have told him they are worried about the protests putting off customers. There is no question the league is suffering negative effects from these protests, Jones said on Sunday.

The NFL was quick to defend its players last month when the president said any player who protested during the anthem was a son of a bitch. However, as the protests have rumbled on the leagues stance appears to have shifted. Last week, the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, said players should stand during the Star-Spangled Banner although they would not be forced to do so. Goodell himself appears to have been affected too ESPN reported that the protests have taken up so much of the leagues time that the commissioners contract extension has yet to be finalized. Other topics, such as the ticketing and the location of next years draft also received little attention at last weeks owners meeting as the league discussed the anthem issue. It has overridden everything and I do mean everything, one source told ESPN.

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