NFL players staged an unprecedented wave of protest on Sunday, beginning at Wembley Stadium in London, as Donald Trump maintained his attack on players who kneel in protest against the national anthem.
Early on Sunday, shortly before his own treasury secretary insisted he was not picking a fight, Trump doubled down on his bellicose remarks at a rally in Alabama on Friday night. The president repeated his challenge to NFL team owners and encouraged fans to stop attending until the owners take action.
“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Kneeling during the anthem was started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the 2016 preseason, who said he was protesting against the treatment of blacks in the United States. Kaepernick is black.
NASCAR legend and team owner Richard Petty told usatoday , that he would go as far as firing anyone on his team who refused to stand for the anthem.
“Anybody that don’t stand up for that ought to be out of the country. Period,” Petty said, according to USA Today. “If they don’t appreciate where they’re at . . . what got them where they’re at? The United States.”
Another owner, Richard Childress expressed similar sentiments. “Get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over,” he said of the anthem protests. “I told them anyone who works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people have gave their lives for it. This is America.”
He’s not alone in NASCAR, either, as several other team owners have sided with Petty. Richard Childress mentioned in the same story that he would not put up with members of his team protesting against the ritual, telling them to “get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over.”