Donald Trump says he will not watch the NFL or United States soccer matches if players do not stand for the national anthem.
The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) this week voted to repeal a policy requiring players to stand while The Star-Spangled Banner is played before games. USSF put that policy in place after Megan Rapinoe kneeled in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, who first took a knee in 2016 in protest against police brutality and the systematic oppression of black people and people of color in America.
Trump responded to a tweet from Republican congressman Matt Gaetz which said, "I'd rather the US not have a soccer team than have a soccer team that won't stand for the National Anthem." Trump's response was, "I won't be watching much anymore!"
He then turned his attention to the NFL.
And it looks like the NFL is heading in that direction also, but not with me watching! https://t.co/aGfBaK7RNA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2020
The issue of kneeling has been a hot topic once again following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis last month.
Several high-profile NFL players including Patrick Mahomes and Michael Thomas created a powerful video that asked the league to condemn racism and admit it was wrong for "silencing our players from peacefully protesting."
“A message on behalf of the nfl” pic.twitter.com/iilDpnZfyV
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) June 5, 2020
A video from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in response conceded the NFL was "wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier" as he said they were encouraged to peacefully protest.
Though there was no direct reference to taking a knee for the anthem or refusing to stand, Trump reiterated his stance on the issue at the time.
"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?"