NFL responds to US President Donald Trump after boycott threat
United States president Donald Trump is firmly against athletes kneeling during the national anthem and said he will boycott any league that allows it.
Last week the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that the league was wrong to not listen to its players when they peacefully protested and they can now kneel during the national anthem prior to each game. After lifting the ban, President Donald Trump said he will not watch the NFL if players do not stand for the national anthem.
“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,” said Goodell in a video statement from his basement recently. “We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”
The NFL is one of the most popular and important leagues in the United States and 7 out of 10 players are African American. In 2016, Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem which cost him his career as a quarterback in the NFL. Amid the protests over George Floyd’s death, the league admitted they were wrong over the treatment of the player, who opened lawsuit against the NFL for colluding to keep him out of the league. As a result, Kaepernick could be returning this upcoming season. Pete Carroll, the Seattle Seahawks coach says he was wrong not to sign the player when he tried out with the team in the past but says he is sure the player will be signed this season.
Trump already tweeted that he will not be watching the NFL or the games of the US Soccer federation, who lifted the ban, if athletes don’t respect the national anthem. "It looks like the NFL is heading in that direction (allowing players to peacefully protest) also, but not with me watching,” Trump said.
The NFL has also created a $250 million program to combat systemic racism over the next 10 years in what looks like a move in direct opposition to Donald Trump's statements and stance on the kneeling issue. Meanwhile several players have given their opinion about what is going on after Floyd’s death and Trump's comments.
The veteran running back from the Washington Redskins said “four years ago only Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem, now all of the players are ready to do it when the season begins.”
The head coach of the Seattle Seahawks said that he made a mistake by not signing Colin Kaepernick when he had the chance a few years back but he is sure a team will pick him up this season. Carroll added that Kaepernick's return would likely anger President Trump.
The Houston Texans player was present at George Floyd’s funeral earlier this week and also said he is ready to kneel with his teammates during the national anthem. The majority of the players are also in favor of the Black Lives Matters movement and are glad the NFL admitted they were wrong.
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