The National Football League and other professional sports organizations in the U.S. have recently altered course with regard to their stances on athletes kneeling during "The Star-Spangled Banner" in protest of racial injustice. On Saturday, President Donald Trump seemingly decried their changing positions, calling out the NFL and also the U.S. Soccer Federation via Twitter and suggesting he would not be watching either if players are allowed to kneel during the national anthem.
Trump first alluded to his displeasure with U.S. Soccer, retweeting a post that had reported on Florida Representative Matt Gaetz's protesting of the organization's move to allow players the agency to refrain from standing during the pre-game anthem. Gaetz recently revealed that he is drafting legislation aimed at forcing U.S. Soccer players to stand for the anthem lest they face financial repercussions.
"I won't be watching much anymore!" commented Trump.
Shortly thereafter, the president retweeted a post from Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, who similarly panned the move, writing "Let me get this straight, UNITED STATES Soccer won't stand for the UNITED STATES National Anthem?"
In his retweet, Trump then took aim at the NFL specifically, opining that "it looks like the NFL is heading in that direction also, but not with me watching!"
As reported by ESPN and other outlets on June 10, U.S. Soccer voted this week to repeal a 2017 policy requiring national team players to stand during the anthem. The move was prompted by U.S.S.F. President Cindy Parlow Cone, who urged the board to vote on the matter on Tuesday via conference call. The old policy had been put into place after U.S. women's national team mid-fielder Megan Rapinoe knelt in solidarity with protests inspired by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Meanwhile, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently softened his own stance on the kneeling protests. As shared by The Inquisitr on June 5, a video of Goodell was posted to the league's official website last week in which the commissioner said that the league had handled the peaceful protests of its players in a poor manner.
He further expressed support for the cause of fighting inequality, admitting the league had made a mistake in addressing the concerns of protesting players and further encouraging them to let their voices be heard. Goodell also offered condolences for the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others that have lost loved ones due to police brutality and/or racially-motivated violence.