Donald Trump responded to Roger Goodell's statement to NFL players by asking a question. Trump, who is against players kneeling during the national anthem, shaded the NFL commissioner by bringing back the debate. He went to Twitter to wonder if players were going to "disrespect" the flag by kneeling to protest the racial and social injustice issues going on in the country.
"Could it be even remotely possible that in Roger Goodell’s rather interesting statement of peace and reconciliation, he was intimating that it would now be O.K. for the players to KNEEL, or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag?" Trump asked on Twitter. This message comes two days after Goodell sent a video message to the players in response to them asking the league to admit that it wrongly silenced protesters like Colin Kaepernick.
"We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People," Goodell said in the video. "We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter." Goodell went on to say, "Without black players, there would be no National Football League ... And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff. We are listening, I am listening."
A number of NFL players including Patrick Mahomes, DeShaun Watson, Michael Thomas Tyrann Mathieu and Ezekiel Elliott released a video speaking out against racism while asking the league to listen to them on the issue. "On behalf of the National Football League, this is what we the players would like to hear you state," they said together. "We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systemic 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."
Trump also wrote the tweet after giving praise to Brees for his anti-kneeling comments he made last week. Brees has since apologized for those comments and sent a letter to Trump explaining why he regrets his statements. "We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities," Brees wrote. "We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week."