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Miami Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneel during the national anthem before an NFL preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Hard Rock Stadium, Aug. 9, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo: Screenshot)

Racist President at It Again: Trump Claims Kneeling NFL Players 'Unable to Define' What They're Protesting

"NFL players have continuously defined what they're protesting: white supremacy, police brutality, and racial injustice. You're not listening."

Jake Johnson

Despite the fact that NFL players have been extremely clear that their pre-game National Anthem demonstrations—which have included kneeling, locked arms, and raised fists—are aimed at calling attention to America's appalling levels of systemic racism and police brutality, President Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets on Friday accusing the athletes of being "unable to define" what they're protesting and warned that they will be "suspended without pay" if they continue to kneel.

"The NFL players are at it again—taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem," Trump wrote. "Find another way to protest."

Trump's latest NFL Twitter tirade came after several players from the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles kneeled or raised their fists ahead of their teams' Thursday night preseason match-ups.

In a tweet ahead of Thursday's game, Malcolm Jenkins—an Eagles player who raised his fist during the anthem—highlighted the disproportionate effect mass incarceration has on minorities, writing, "Before we enjoy this game let's take some time to ponder that more than 60 percent of the prison population are people of color."

Further undermining Trump's boldfaced lie that NFL players don't know what they're protesting against, numerous players have worn warm-up shirts that—like Jenkins'—highlighted such issues as widespread voter disenfranchisement and lack of funding for education.

"1.68 million formerly incarcerated citizens do not have the right to vote in the state of Florida," read a shirt worn by one Eagles player before Thursday night's game.

Last week, New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis posted a photo of his #SchoolsNotPrisons shirt on Twitter:

"NFL players have continuously defined what they’re protesting: white supremacy, police brutality, and racial injustice," the ACLU wrote in response to Trump's tweet. "You're not listening."

In a tweet following Thursday's preseason games, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick—who started the kneeling protests in 2016 to call attention to police brutality and other forms of systemic oppression—applauded the players who knelt during the National Anthem, urging them to "stay strong."


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