President Trump said he will tune out the NFL and the United States national soccer team if their players take a knee during the national anthem.
The president in a series of tweets and retweets on Saturday backed comments made by GOP Reps. Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz about the US Soccer Federation last week repealing a rule enacted in 2017 requiring players to stand during the anthem.
The ban was rescinded because of the nationwide protests that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s death by a Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
“It has become clear that this policy was wrong and detracted from the important message of Black Lives Matter,” U.S. Soccer announced on Wednesday.
“I won’t be watching much anymore!” Trump wrote on Twitter, linking to a Gaetz interview with a Pensacola, Fla., television station.
In a tweet, Gaetz of Florida, said he’s “rather the US not have a soccer team than have a soccer team that won’t 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,” he added.
Trump also linked to a posting from Jordan that highlighted a report on the soccer team in a Bowling Green, Ohio, newspaper.
“And it looks like the NFL is heading in that direction also, but not with me watching!,”the president wrote.
Earlier this month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league was “wrong” for not “listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”
Goodell did not mention by name former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the anthem during the 2016 preseason.
Kaepernick, who has been blacklisted by the league, said he was doing it to protest police brutality.
Trump, outraged at players who took a knee, called on NFL owners to fire athletes who do so.
In a September 2017 speech, Trump suggested owners respond by saying: “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”