WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump praised NASCAR drivers early Monday for not protesting the national anthem Sunday, continuing his weekend tweet storm against the NFL over the league’s refusal to punish players who knelt or sat during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
There appeared to be no protests during the national anthem at a NASCAR race Sunday. And Trump took to Twitter to praise drivers and supporters.
So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won't put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag - they said it loud and clear!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
Trump on Sunday called on fans to boycott professional football games until the league did something to stop players from protesting during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which is traditionally performed or played at the beginning of athletic events. The president’s request, however, appeared to empower professional football players and team owners, prompting more protests during the anthem at games throughout the day.
Trump’s decision to take sides on this issue was the latest example of the president’s proclivity for divisiveness.
On Friday, the president used an expletive when he referred to players who protest the national anthem by kneeling or sitting — a trend that started last season to protest racial and social injustice. Trump was speaking to Republican supporters during a rally for Sen. Luther Strange of Alabama, who is facing a runoff primary election Tuesday.
Some NASCAR owners said Sunday that they would not condone protests of the national anthem by racers.
In another tweet Monday morning, Trump repeated his assertion that his position about protesting the national anthem was not tied to race.
The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
But the protests began in response to a string of police shootings of unarmed African-Americans. A former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick, started the trend last year.