Trump Claims NFL Owners Are “Afraid” of Their Players

The dog whistles continue.

Mai/ZUMA

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President Donald Trump continued attacking NFL players for protesting during the national anthem, telling Fox & Friends he believes team owners are unwilling to punish athletes because they are scared of players.

“I think they’re afraid of their players, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said. “I think it’s disgraceful. And they’ve got to be tough and they’ve got to be smart because you look at their ratings are going way down.”

The interview, which was recorded Wednesday and aired Thursday morning, comes as the latest salvo in the president’s ongoing tirade against players protesting racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. Since Friday, when he described anthem protesters as a “son of a bitch” during a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, Trump has spent every day either attacking athletes or calling on NFL officials to forbid such actions.

Many have criticized the president for fixating on the controversy, rather than the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. 

When asked what prompted his initial remarks in Alabama Friday, Trump claimed NFL owners have personally complained to the president of being trapped in a “box” over how to handle the protests. “When it comes to the respect of our nation, when it comes to the respect of our anthem and our flag—they have no choice,” he said. “You have to have people stand with respect.” 

It’s been reported Trump is using the current fight to shore up support among his base, amid fears of angering his core supporters with his recent bipartisanship work with Democrats on DACA.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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