White House defends National Football League remarks, says not about race

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, Trump continued tweeting about the issue, with multiple statements denouncing "certain players" who protest. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. Standing up for the American flag and the men and women who serve is certainly a respectable act, however, the President's divisive name calling of NFL players has only emboldened the wealthy athletes who believe that taking a knee during the national anthem is going to somehow resolve an issue they supposedly truly care about.

As reporters continued to demand answers about Trump's response to the NFL, and specifically to free agent Colin Kaepernick, who was shunned after he began kneeling during the National Anthem previous year to protest police brutality, Sanders flat-out denied that racism played any role in the protest or Trump's comments.

"It's pretty black and white there", Sanders said while trying to dismiss a reporter's questions about the racial undertones of Trump's taunts.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders argued on Monday that the media was "missing the entire goal of the message" when it came to President Donald Trump's criticism of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.

SANDERS: No. No. That's not what I'm saying.

Other players stood with arms interlocked while "The Star-Spangled Banner" was played in stadiums across the league. "We continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", she said. Trump's comments sparked backlash from players and owners, many of whom spoke out against the president and protested during games on Sunday.

The point guard had already said he wouldn't go, and his team, the reigning National Basketball Association champions, said they would similarly skip the White House after Trump's tweet. "It's a win for him at the end of the day".

Critics of Trump didn't miss the racial tensions underlying the conflict. Many coaches locked arms with the players.

The protests kicked off a nationwide debate in 2016, when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the playing of the anthem to raise awareness of police brutality and racism against African-Americans.

Trump for his part insists that there was no racial dimension to his critique of the protesting National Football League players, whom he described as "sons of bitches".

  • Kyle Peterson