President Donald Trump on Friday criticized NFL players who kneel in protest during the national anthem before games, suggesting that owners should fire any player who does so. After Trump made the statement at a political rally in Alabama, a number of players responded to the president, calling him a "clown" and saying he should stick to politics.
Several athletes, including a handful of NFL players, have refused to stand during "The Star-Spangled Banner" to protest of the treatment of blacks by police. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the trend last year when he played for the San Francisco 49ers, hasn't been signed by an NFL team for this season.
"They're ruining the game," Trump said Friday night. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you'd say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He's fired."
After the rally, a number of current and former players vented at the president on Twitter.