Trump: Keeping players in locker room for anthem 'almost as bad as kneeling'

Donald Trump began his Thanksgiving holiday early Wednesday morning by returning to a familiar topic, one that ranks low on "job responsibilities of the President of the United States" but very high on "issues that will incite the base": NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustice.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that some NFL owners could choose to keep players in the locker room during the anthem next season to keep any protests would unseen. In the wake of that news, Trump fired off this tweet at 5:48 a.m. ET:

Except that players have only been on the field during the anthem since 2009. Before that, players remained in the locker room. Whether Trump was aware of that fact is irrelevant; his tweet is meant to anger NFL fans who conflate player protests with disrespecting the flag and the military. And Trump's hope, presumably, is that those angry fans will scare NFL owners into action.

Trump's latest diatribe comes days after he called out Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, who sat during the "Star Spangled Banner" but stood for the Mexican national anthem before Sunday's game against the Patriots in Mexico City.

"Marshawn Lynch of the NFL's Oakland Raiders stands for the Mexican Anthem and sits down to boos for our National Anthem," Trump tweeted. "Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down."

Asked about the president's tweet on a weekly conference call, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart stated that the league has "no particular reaction to it."

And while Trump's tweets might have the desired effect on his base, that base appears to be losing members; the wife of coach Jack Del Rio issued her own tweet, writing that she was sorry for voting for Trump and lauded the charity work the Raiders did while they were in Mexico City.

Linda Del Rio wasn't alone in calling out the president; Lynch's mother also responded to Trump by cracking a joke about the fact that he has tried and failed to buy and NFL team on multiple occasions. 

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories
    24/7 Scores, News, Highlights