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What you need to know for 10/16/2017

Trump praises NASCAR fans, again rails against NFL protests

Trump praises NASCAR fans, again rails against NFL protests

President continues tweet storm
Trump praises NASCAR fans, again rails against NFL protests
President Donald Trump prepares to board Air Force One at the municipal airport in Morristown, N.J., on Sept. 24, 2017.
Photographer: Tom Brenner/The New York Times

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.

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.

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.

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