For soccer followers, the 2017 season was one crammed with upsets, dramatic game-deciding calls from referees – and politics.
President Trump set his sights on the Nationwide Soccer League when he lashed out at athletes who protest the nationwide anthem earlier than video games.
The response from the NFL and its gamers was swift and unavoidable as video games introduced opposing groups collectively, united in opposition to a typical opponent: the president.
Learn on for a have a look at Trump’s gripes with the game.
The league should still be deciding whether or not it will require gamers to face at consideration if on the sphere throughout the nationwide anthem, however Dallas Cowboys proprietor Jerry Jones already is aware of what his group will do.
“Our coverage is you stand throughout the anthem, toe on the road,” Jones stated forward of the 2018 season.
Trump praised Jones’ choice, saying his transfer “is what the league ought to do.”
Jones instructed Cowboys gamers to face for the anthem final yr as properly.
Trump benches the Eagles
Trump introduced June four that the Philadelphia Eagles wouldn’t go to the White Home to have fun the group’s Tremendous Bowl win amid the nationwide anthem dispute.
Trump, in a press release, stated the group is “unable” to go to the ceremony as a result of they do not agree along with his perception that NFL gamers ought to “proudly stand for the Nationwide Anthem, hand on coronary heart, in honor of the good women and men of our navy and the individuals of our nation.”
The Eagles apparently wished to ship a smaller group of gamers — as a handful didn’t plan to attend — however Trump seemingly uninvited your entire group.
A bunch of 1,000 followers, nonetheless, are nonetheless invited to attend a “completely different sort” of occasion, one which Trump stated “will honor our nice nation, pay tribute to the heroes who battle to guard it, and loudly and proudly play the Nationwide Anthem.”
Trump cheers on the NFL
After the NFL determined gamers ought to stand for the nationwide anthem or face a advantageous sooner or later, Trump praised the league, telling Fox Information the group house owners “did the precise factor with that.”
The league has adopted a brand new coverage which mandates that gamers and personnel need to “stand and present respect for the flag and the anthem” or be fined. Those that don’t want to stand for the nationwide anthem can keep within the locker room “or in an analogous location off the sphere” till it’s over, the NFL stated.
“I don’t assume individuals must be staying within the locker rooms, however nonetheless I feel it’s good. You need to stand proudly for the nationwide anthem,” Trump stated. “You shouldn’t be enjoying, you shouldn’t be there. Perhaps they shouldn’t be within the nation.”
Trump credited “the individuals” for enacting the coverage change on the NFL. “I introduced it out. I feel the individuals pushed it ahead,” he stated.
A number of Philadelphia Eagles gamers stated they’d skip the customary White Home go to even earlier than Trump made the June four announcement.
Security Malcolm Jenkins confirmed to a WTXF-TV reporter in Could that he wouldn’t be visiting the White Home. And in April, defensive finish Brandon Graham reportedly commented, “as of proper now, I will not be there.”
Previous to their Tremendous Bowl win, each defensive finish Chris Lengthy and vast receiver Torrey Smith — who’s now with the Carolina Panthers — stated they, too, wouldn’t attend the standard celebration on the White Home ought to the invitation be prolonged.
“We’re within the strategy of working by way of the logistics of a visit to Washington D.C., together with a go to to the White Home on June 5,” an Eagles spokesman advised NFL.com on Could 17.
In a Tremendous Bowl LII presidential message, Trump spoke about U.S. service members and standing for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Trump stated, “We owe these heroes the best respect for defending our liberty and our American lifestyle. Their sacrifice is stitched into every star and each stripe of our Star-Spangled Banner. We maintain them in our hearts and thank them for our freedom as we proudly stand for the Nationwide Anthem.”
State of the NFL
Throughout Trump’s first State of the Union deal with – lower than per week earlier than Tremendous Bowl LII – Trump seemingly took a jab at those that protest the nationwide anthem.
Whereas acknowledging White Home visitor Preston Sharp, a younger boy who organized a marketing campaign to place American flags on veterans’ graves, Trump stated he “reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our palms on our hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance and why we proudly stand for the nationwide anthem.”
Trump takes on Roger Goodell
Trump stated NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell “misplaced management of the hemorrhaging league,” on Twitter.
“Are you able to consider that the disrespect for our Nation, our Flag, our Anthem continues with out penalty to the gamers,” Trump stated. “The Commissioner has misplaced management of the hemorrhaging league. Gamers are the boss!”
Marshawn Lynch’s protection
After Trump publicly criticized Oakland Raiders’ operating again Marshawn Lynch on social media, his mom and his coach’s spouse jumped to his protection.
Trump stated on Twitter that Lynch must be suspended for the rest of the soccer season if he does what he did earlier than a recreation: sit in protest throughout the enjoying of the nationwide anthem however stand for Mexico’s anthem.
Delisa Lynch, the soccer participant’s mom, fired again, hitting the president for his previous failures to turn out to be an NFL group proprietor.
And Linda Del Rio, the spouse of Raiders Coach Jack Del Rio, reportedly stated on Twitter, “President Trump I voted for you, which I now remorse. Soccer is a robust platform – right here’s the charitable work we did in Mexico Metropolis #NFLproud.” Her account seems to have been deactivated.
Pence out of the sport
Vice President Mike Pence attended the Indianapolis Colts recreation in his dwelling state in October – however not for very lengthy.
Pence and his spouse walked out of the sport after gamers from the San Francisco 49ers kneeled throughout the nationwide anthem.
Trump later tweeted that he was “proud” of Pence and his spouse, Karen, for leaving the stadium.
Jerry Jones’ play name
Dallas Cowboys proprietor Jerry Jones stated his gamers should stand for the nationwide anthem – in the event that they don’t wish to stay seated on the bench for the sport.
“I do know this, we can not … within the NFL in any method give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” Jones stated after a group loss. “We all know that there’s a critical debate on this nation about these points, however there isn’t any query in my thoughts that the Nationwide Soccer League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to face up for the flag. So we’re clear.”
When pressed on different indicators of protest, corresponding to gamers holding up a fist on the finish of the music, Jones reiterated that “if there’s something that’s disrespectful to the flag, then [they] is not going to play.”
Cowboys achieve floor with Trump
Together with Jones, the Cowboys briefly knelt collectively earlier than the nationwide anthem. However when the “Star-Spangled Banner” performed, the Cowboys stood with locked arms. The Arizona Cardinals did the identical.
“The booing on the NFL soccer recreation final evening, when your entire Dallas group dropped to its knees, was the loudest I’ve ever heard. Nice anger,” Trump tweeted.
“However whereas Dallas dropped to its knees as a group, all of them stood up for our Nationwide Anthem,” he continued. “Large progress being made – all of us love our nation.”
Trump has stated that he had spoken to Jones, calling him a “winner who is aware of the best way to get issues completed.” He additionally stated athletes “will stand for our Nation!”
Sarah Sanders takes a shot
White Home press secretary Sarah Sanders defended Trump’s feedback on the NFL and its gamers, saying it’s “all the time applicable for the President of the US to defend our flag, to defend the nationwide anthem and to defend the women and men who fought and died to defend it.”
Sanders additionally prompt athletes protest “the [police] officers on the sphere who’re defending them as an alternative of the American flag.”
Race versus respect
Trump stated that his situation with athletes’ protests was about “respect” for the U.S. and never race.
“The difficulty of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It’s about respect for our nation, flag and nationwide anthem. NFL should respect this!” he stated.
Brady breaks Trump’s deal with
Regardless of his oft-reported friendship with Trump, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady stated he disagreed with the president’s remarks on the NFL.
“I definitely disagree with what he stated. I assumed it was simply divisive,” Brady stated.
Sport time selections
After the president’s speech and tweets, a number of NFL groups and gamers determined to take a stand – by taking a knee or remaining within the locker room throughout the Sept. 24 video games.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans all remained of their locker rooms whereas “The Star-Spangled Banner” performed.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin stated the choice was made by the group “to not be disrespectful to the anthem, however to take away ourselves from this circumstance.” Nevertheless, Alejandro Villanueva, an offensive deal with and former Military Ranger, was outdoors when the anthem started to play and stood alone.
A number of groups, together with the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars, took a knee or locked arms throughout the nationwide anthem.
And whereas the locked arms was meant to be a show of unity amongst NFL gamers, Trump tweeted his assist for the gesture.
“Standing with locked arms is nice, kneeling just isn’t acceptable. Dangerous rankings!” he stated.
Trump tweeted a complete of six occasions that Sunday concerning the American flag and protests.
Trump tackles athlete protesters
Whereas in Alabama to marketing campaign for a Republican particular Senate election candidate, Trump took a second to slam athletes who kneel in protest throughout the nationwide anthem.
“Would not you like to see one in all these NFL house owners, when any person disrespects our flag, to say ‘get that son of a b—- off the sphere proper now, out, he is fired,'” Trump stated to cheers.
“You recognize, the NFL rankings are down massively, massively,” Trump stated as he railed in opposition to the league’s officiating on sure tackles. “A referee will get on tv, his spouse is sitting at dwelling, she’s so happy with him. They’re ruining the sport.”
Trump accused “these individuals taking a knee” throughout the anthem of “hurting” soccer and inspired individuals to “go away the stadium” if only one participant protests.
Buffalo Payments come up quick
Earlier than he turned president, Trump owned the New Jersey Generals of the now-defunct United States Soccer League (USFL). Trump pushed for the league’s video games to be performed within the fall, in competitors with the NFL, and was extensively blamed for the collapse of the league.
After the USFL folded in 1985, Trump unsuccessfully tried to turn out to be a NFL group proprietor.
Trump misplaced a bidding battle to turn out to be the Buffalo Payments’ new proprietor in 2014. He was outbid by Terry Pegula, 66, who reportedly paid $1.four billion for the group.
Trump decried the NFL and the group on Twitter a number of occasions after dropping the possession battle.
“The [NFL] video games are so boring now that truly, I’m glad I didn’t get the Payments. Boring video games, too many flags, too smooth!” Trump stated on Oct. 13, 2014.
Fox Information’ Nicole Darrah and Kathleen Joyce contributed to this report.