President Donald Trump went to one of his favorite punching bags during an interview on Fox News’ “Hannity” on Wednesday, again lambasting the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell for its shift on racial issues.
Goodell took a noteworthy step earlier this month when he released a statement admitting the NFL was wrong for not listening to players’ past peaceful protests over racial injustice and said he believes “Black Lives Matter.”
That statement naturally rubbed Trump the wrong way, who posted a tweet questioning the statement soon after. He then contended Goodell did something no one was asking for.
“I saw the NFL get very weak,” Trump said. “I think they’ll lose a lot of fans and a lot of support. That already happened before, I thought they learned their lesson, but I think it’s going to happen again. I was surprised at Roger, Roger Goodell that he would have done what he did and made this statement that he made. Nobody was even asking for it.”
NFL stars were specifically asking for Goodell’s statement
That claim no one was asking for Goodell’s statement is contradicted by the video several NFL players had released the day before Goodell’s statement, in which they specifically asked for such a statement.
In the video, the players — including Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. — requested the league admit it was wrong for silencing past peaceful protests and say it believes Black Lives Matter.
The request in the video:
This is what we, the players, would like to hear you state: We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter.
Those players had not been the only ones to take issue with the NFL’s handling of racial issues in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.
In addition to again questioning Goodell’s statement, Trump also repeated his unhappiness with Drew Brees’ apology for saying peaceful protests against racial injustice were disrespectful to the flag and military. Brees pushed back on the sentiment when Trump first expressed it, saying he now understands the protests were never about the flag.
Trump and Goodell at least agree on ... Colin Kaepernick?
While Trump discussed his usual favorites during the “Hannity” interview, a comment from him earlier Wednesday on another controversial topic in the NFL surprised many.
When asked if Colin Kaepernick should get another shot in the NFL, Trump said yes, though with a questionable qualifier:
“If he deserves it, he should,” Trump said when asked if Kaepernick should get another shot in the NFL. “If he has the playing ability. He started off great, and then he didn’t end up very great in terms of a player. He was terrific in his rookie year. I think he was very good in his second year. And then something happened. So his playing wasn’t up to snuff.
“The answer is absolutely I would. As far as kneeling, I would love to see him get another shot. But obviously he has to be able to play well. If he can’t play well, I think it would be very unfair.”
Goodell caused a similar surprise when he said earlier this week that he encourages teams to sign the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who went from starting to out of the NFL after kneeling in protest of racial injustice during the national anthem.
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