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President Donald Trump demanded that anthem protesters be fired on Friday night.

NFL releases statement on Donald Trump’s ‘divisive’ statements

Ryan Wooden

At a rally on Friday, President Donald Trump called for NFL players protesting the national anthem by kneeling to be fired. On Saturday, the NFL released a statement deriding Mr. Trump for his comments.

NFL public relations executive Brian McCarthy tweeted an official statement from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Saturday morning. In it, Goodell called Trump’s statement “divisive.”

Often considered an ally of conservative causes, the NFL taking a stand against Trump could mark a significant change in the public perception of the league office’s political inclinations.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began making waves with his anthem protests in the preseason of the 2016 season. He began kneeling to protest police brutality against minors.

Kaepernick became a free agent this offseason and hasn’t been able to find work despite endorsements from Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, the two premier quarterbacks in the league.

Trump called the anthem protesters a “son of a b—-” and demanded that owners get them off the field during his speech to supporters in Huntsville, Ala. He didn’t mention Kaepernick by name during the address, but the inferences were clear.