President Trump appeared to express support for a pledge from a top political ally to not buy tickets to NFL games “until they…stop dividing America.”
The tweet was written late Sunday evening by American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp and retweeted by the commander-in-chief Tuesday morning.
The tweet in its entirety read, “I will never buy another NFL ticket until they go back to playing football and stop dividing America.”
Schlapp is a close ally of President Trump and a powerful name in conservative circles.
As chairman of the ACU, he organizes the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, also known as CPAC, a major event that draws thousands of right-wing activists and Republican officials — which has regularly featured Trump as a keynote speaker.
President Trump has been speaking out against the NFL in recent days, citing his displeasure with the league’s commissioner Roger Goodell’s apology on the issue of players peacefully protesting.
In a video released Friday, Goodell vaguely acknowledged the years-long controversy surrounding players kneeling during the national anthem before games.
During his video, the commissioner said, “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”
Goodell did not mention former NFL player Colin Kaepernick by name, who started the trend of kneeling during the anthem during the 2016 preseason.
Two days after Goodell’s video statement began making the rounds, Trump spoke out on Twitter, writing Sunday evening that he found the remarks “rather interesting.”
“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?” the commander-in-chief tweeted.
Trump has been a vocal critic of kneeling during the anthem since the social justice awareness effort took shape, arguing that it disrespects the American flag and the American lives lost during wartime.
In 2017, he began a feud with the NFL over the issue of kneeling, calling on team owners to fire those who do not stand for the anthem.
Goodell released his most recent remarks after a wave of NFL players deemed his first written statement on the murder of George Floyd — an unarmed black man killed by a white police officer — to be inadequate.
Protests and riots erupted across the nation over the past two weeks in a show of outrage against the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis.
Floyd could be heard in video of the event pleading that he could not breathe while being pinned down by since-fired Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for over eight minutes.
The video sparked a nationwide conversation about the prevalence of police brutality against minorities.
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