Donald Trump launches petition against NFL players’ anthem protests
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Donald Trump launches petition against NFL players’ anthem protests

Donald Trump’s hatred towards the National Football League is only increasing after the NFL rejected the US President’s call to punish players who kneel for the anthem to protest racism.

other sports Updated: Oct 20, 2017 19:42 IST
Donald Trump,President of USA,National Football League
This file photo taken on September 22, 2017 shows US President Donald Trump speaking during a rally for Alabama state Republican Senator Luther Strange at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Trump triggered a backlash from the US professional sports world on September 23, 2017, withdrawing a White House invitation to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors after condemning NFL players protesting the national anthem. A day after Trump had decried activist National Football League stars as "sons of bitches" who should be fired for kneeling or sitting during renditions of The Stars and Stripes, the US leader turned his ire to basketball's reigning champions and star player Stephen Curry.Curry said he would not attend a White House reception if his team was invited in accordance with a tradition that stretches back several decades. (AFP)

U.S. President Donald Trump has stepped up the pressure on the National Football League over protests by its players during the national anthem by launching a petition and asking his supporters to show their patriotism by backing it.

The move came after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell this week rejected Trump’s calls to punish players who kneel for the anthem to protest racism. Trump has said the protests are unpatriotic and disrespectful of military veterans.

“The President has asked for a list of supporters who stand for the National Anthem. Add your name below to show your patriotism and support,” said the petition issued on Thursday by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a fundraising organization for Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

The petition was published on the Republican National Committee website. It did not indicate how many signatures had been received.

Players kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner” are protesting the killing of unarmed black men and boys by police across the United States, as well as racial disparities in the country’s criminal justice system. More than half of all NFL players are black.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who first popularized the gesture last year, said he settled on kneeling as a form of protest because it is widely seen as a gesture of respect.

Goodell said on Wednesday after a meeting of league owners that the NFL would continue to nurture players’ efforts to fight racial disparities in the criminal justice system, believing this would make the urge to protest fade.

Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed disdain for the protests since a rally in September. In a Twitter post on Wednesday, he called the NFL’s decision, “Too much talk, not enough action.”

First Published: Oct 20, 2017 19:23 IST