President Donald Trump has again weighed in on protests by NFL players during the national anthem, this time with an early-morning tweetstorm that heaped praise on the Dallas Cowboys while trashing the league generally.
Trump tweeted that NFL ratings were “way down except before game starts, when people tune in to see whether or not our country will be disrespected!”
Ratings are down in the NFL this year, a continuing trend from last season.
Trump went on to address Monday night’s football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals, where the entire Cowboys team knelt before the anthem but stood during it.
Trump tweeted that when the Cowboys knelt before the anthem, it resulted in the loudest booing he had ever heard – “great anger.” Trump did not personally attend the game, however, and the Cowboys were the away team.
The Cowboys’ decision to stand for the anthem itself drew praise from the president, who characterized it as “big progress being made.”
The NFL has played the national anthem before games for decades, but in 2009 it began to play the song with the players on the field. In 2016, Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback then playing for the 49ers, protested police treatment of minorities by sitting during the anthem. The move divided and politicized the NFL, but with Kaepernick without a team this season it had mostly faded from conversation before Trump over the weekend spoke out against players who did not stand for the anthem.
“But while Dallas dropped to its knees as a team, they all stood up for our National Anthem,” Trump concluded. “Big progress being made-we all love our country!”