Donald Trump praises fans who booed NFL players taking a knee

Players from the Oakland Raiders sit during the national anthem prior to their NFL game against the Washington Redskins, in Landover, Maryland, on Sept 24, 2017. PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - President Donald Trump on Monday (Sept 25) praised football fans who booed National Football League (NFL) players taking a knee during the national anthem on Sunday, as he continued for a fourth day his campaign to pressure team owners on the issue.

"These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!" Trump said in a series of morning tweets, also asserting that only a "small percentage" of players knelt. "Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!"

The tweets continue a recent push by the president to pressure the league to fire players who have taken a knee to protest police violence against minorities. Trump has poured fuel on the flame of a simmering culture war and has further pushed sports deep into the political arena.

The president went on to praise NASCAR supporters and fans, saying they were with him, and denied that his stance has anything to do with race."It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!" Trump said in another tweet.

His latest comments on this subject followed a remarkable Sunday during which players at games across the country locked arms, knelt and stayed in the locker room during anthem in a show of solidarity against Trump's broadside on the issue. Several team owners also participated.

At a political rally in Alabama on Friday, Trump demanded that NFL owners "fire or suspend" players who kneel during the national anthem, using a profane term to describe players who do. He has also called for fans to boycott games if the form of protest continues.

In the first of his Monday tweets, Trump referenced the stance of several owners at a NASCAR event held in New Hampshire. They made clear that drivers and others could be fired if they don't stand during the national anthem."So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans," Trump said on Twitter.

"They won't put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag - they said it loud and clear!"

In another tweet on Monday morning, Trump, who spent the weekend at his private golf club in New Jersey, referenced another issue facing him in Washington.

He wrote: "The White House never looked more beautiful than it did returning last night. Important meetings taking place today. Big tax cuts & reform."

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