- At a Nevada rally on Sunday, President Trump called football "boring as hell" and said "it's just not the same," in response to players who have protested against police brutality and racial injustice on the field.
- In 2018, Trump called on the NFL to punish players who chose to kneel on the field instead of standing for the US National Anthem.
- This past June, Trump tweeted that "the game is over for me" if he sees a sports player kneel while the national anthem is played, taking it as a sign of disrespect against the country and the American flag.
- Despite his opposition to acts of protest on the football field, Trump said in June that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick should be given another chance to play "if he has the playing ability," in an interview with the Sinclair Broadcast Group.
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President Donald Trump on Sunday said that "football is boring as hell" at a campaign rally in Nevada, his latest statement in a long grievance campaign against the NFL and players protesting acts of racial injustice and police brutality.
While speaking to supporters in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas, at his first indoor rally since June, Trump lamented behavior that he believes is disrespectful to the country and detrimental to the spirit of the game. He added: "It's just not the same, right?"
Trump then continued with his message to the cheering crowd, saying people once asked that events not be performed during games, but now "they say, 'can you possibly do it during a football game?'"
Trump has a long history of wading into cultural issues across the country, even with the racial reckoning and acts of police brutality that have defined civil unrest in the country this summer, and sports is no exception.
In 2017, mere months after he was sworn into office, Trump unleased a barrage of critcism against football players who kneeled during the national anthem, pressuring the NFL to terminate the employment of any offenders.
"Get that son of a b—- off the field right now, out. He's fired. He's fired!" Trump said at time, at a rally for then-Sen. Luther Strange, an Alabama Republican.
This June, Trump voiced uneven support for former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose anti-racism kneel was seen as the start of a larger movement among some players. When interviewed by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, Trump was asked if Kaepernick should play again.
"If he deserves it, he should," Trump said. "If he has the playing ability. He started off great and then he didn't end up very great in terms of as a player."
In 2016, Kaepernick opted out of his contract and left the 49ers, and he has yet to receive a contract with another team. This past Sunday, CBS News reported that he criticized the league's recent diversity initiatives, which include allowing racial justice messages on team helmets and end zones, tweeting that the actions amounted to "propaganda."
There were some important political considerations that led to this visit. Trump would like to capture Nevada, a state he lost by 2.4% in 2016, and his campaign hopes to make inroads with the state's large Latino population and run up the score in exurbuan and rural areas.
The Trump rally was also held just minutes away from Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the NFL's Las Vegas Raiders.
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