Trump says he’ll stop watching US Soccer, NFL games

President Donald Trump said that he will stop watching U.S. Soccer and NFL games after both entities showed support for players protesting the national anthem.

In a series of recent tweets and retweets, Trump said on Twitter that he would not watch any sport that had its athletes kneeling.

“I won’t be watching much anymore!” Trump said in a retweeted response, referring to U.S. Soccer.

In a follow-up response, Trump said that the NFL was “heading in that direction also, but not with me watching!”

Trump’s tweets were in response to Twitter comments by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on Thursday that the United States should no longer have a national soccer team following the federation’s repeal of a policy requiring its players to stand during the national anthem.

In a statement, U.S. Soccer said the policy was “wrong and detracted from the important message of Black Lives Matter.”

The policy was put into place after U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Megan Rapinoe began kneeling during the anthem in her club matches in a show of support of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality.

However, Gaetz announced that he plans to draft legislation to force U.S. Soccer to make its players stand for the national anthem.

“You shouldn’t get to play under our flag as our national team if you won’t stand when it is raised.” Gaetz said.

Meanwhile, several NFL players, such as Washington Redskins defensive end Chase Young and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, released a video in early June asking the league to condemn racism and “admit wrong in silencing our players for silencing protesting.”

In a response video, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league was wrong for not listening to players and “encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”

Trump, who used the topic of protesting the national anthem to rally supporters during his 2016 presidential campaign, responded to Goodell’s video last week, questioning the NFL commissioner’s motives in supporting his players.

After Kaepernick’s initial protest, the NFL attempted to enact a policy in 2018 requiring that all players to be on the field for the anthem.

But the NFL quickly scrapped the rule before the 2018-2019 season.

U.S. Soccer and the NFL have not responded to the president’s comments.

José Umaña

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

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