“No thanks!” the president wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
Trump fired off the two-word response after Detroit Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford and Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson took a knee before the teams’ annual Thanksgiving game at Ford Field in downtown Detroit.
The players were protesting against police brutality and racism in the U.S.
Since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee in August 2016, Trump has strongly opposed the move and even suggested NFL players should be suspended or fired for disrespecting the American flag and troops.
However, players have said in the past that they’re simply calling out social injustice.
In 2017, Trump told his supporters at a rally in Alabama that he wished NFL owners penalized players who took a knee during the national anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag to say, ‘get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired,” Trump claimed at the time.
NFL players have kneeled during games over the summer in response to the murder of several black people at the hands by police.
Stafford said earlier in the season that kneeling felt like the right thing to do.
“Just felt like it was the right thing at the right time,” he told MLive in September. “Obviously it’s been an amazing offseason just for our team, for a lot of people, something where there’s been great opportunity for growth and learning and understanding, and just felt like it was the right thing for me.”
According to MLive, Stafford also pledged $1.5 million to help promote diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice at the University of Georgia, his alma mater, with $350,000 of that heading to a new social justice program for the athletic department.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford along with Texans' quarterback Deshaun Watson, were among the NFL players who knelt during the national anthem before the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans Thanksgiving Day matchup. This then led to the spoken “Twitter attention.”
Surprisingly, three years ago, when NFL players first started kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality, Stafford and his wife were vocal critics against it. Since then, he and his wife have issued a public apology for opposing the protests.
Despite Stafford's change of heart, some NFL fans were shocked to see the quarterback kneeling on Thanksgiving.