President Trump takes on the NFL

He's encouraging Americans to boycott until players stop kneeling during the national anthem.
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The president is encouraging Americans to boycott the NFL until players stop kneeling during the national anthem.

President Trump brought up the topic while stumping for Sen. Luther Strange at a campaign rally in Alabama on Friday night.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired'," Trump said during his speech – the Washington Post has a few minutes of it here.

Trump seems to be taking a shot at former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who gained nationwide attention during the 2016 season when he began protesting by not standing while the anthem played

Kaepernick, who is currently a free agent, has said its a way of protesting racial inequality and oppression. 

"If you see it, even if it's just one person, leave the stadium," Trump said in his speech. "I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway."

The president tweeted about the NFL again on Saturday, reiterating that players should be fired if they don't stand during the anthem.

The NFL and NFL Players' Association fired back with statements, saying "Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players."

A bunch of players also chimed in on social media to condemn the president's words.

But Trump stayed firm on Sunday, again encouraging fans to boycott the league.

He tweeted: "If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast."

The Vikings respond

NFL teams including the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers have all issued statements condemning Trump's remarks.

On Sunday, the Vikings also released an official statement:

NFL players, coaches, and owners from multiple teams also responded to Trump's comments with demonstrations during Sunday's games.

In a sign of solidarity, the Pittsburgh Steelers stayed in the locker room during the national anthem prior to kickoff with the Chicago Bears, ESPN says.

At the Wembley Stadium in London, members of the Jaguars and Ravens locked arms or kneeled during the U.S. national anthem.

That inspired other teams – including the Vikings – to follow suit.

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