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President Trump says NFL players who protest anthem should be fired

For The Win logo For The Win 9/23/2017 Alysha Tsuji

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(Video by Sports Illustrated)

President Donald Trump talked about the NFL for a portion of his time on stage at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, on Friday night. He mentioned how penalties for hard hits are "ruining the game," he said fans should leave the stadium if they see players kneeling for the anthem, and he said that he wishes owners would fire players who protested the anthem.

Below are video clips of him talking about the things mentioned above with transcriptions:

"15 yards, throw him out of the game. They had that last week. I watched for a couple of minutes. Two guys just really beautiful tackle, boom, 15 yards. The referee gets on television, his wife is sitting at home, she's so proud of him - they're ruining the game. Right? They're ruining the game. Hey look, that's what they want to do. They want to hit, but it is hurting the game."


"But you know what's hurting the game more than that? When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem. The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it's one player, leave the stadium, I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave. Not the same game anymore anyway."

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that sone of a b---- off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired!'"

This is far from the first time Trump has spoken about the NFL. Here are some other things he said while he was campaigning to become president:

"(The NFL has) become soft and our country has become soft."

"Football's become soft like our country has become soft."

"I hope they don't soften the game up too much. Don't make it too politically correct."

As for Trump's complaints about players kneeling during the anthem, it doesn't look like players are going to stop any time soon.

The Seahawks' Michael Bennett, who's one of the players protesting, said this while explaining why he sat for the anthem:

"There's a whole bunch of people sitting at home judging me, but they will never get to this point where they can be vulnerable. Let people attack me because they don't believe what I believe in, but at the end of the day, I'm being vulnerable to show every person that no matter [what] you believe in, keep fighting for it. Keep fighting for equality. Keep fighting for oppressed people. And keep trying to change society."

The Browns' Seth DeValve, believed to be the first white player to kneel for the anthem, said while explaining his reasoning:

"The issue is that it doesn't provide equal opportunity to everybody. I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there's things in the country that still need to change."

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