Donald Trump Rips NFL on Twitter, Says Fan Action Will Force 'Fire or Suspend'

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2017

FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, in Huntsville, Ala. Asia is getting used to living with Trump’s broadsides, though it can’t shrug them off completely. Many people were unnerved, but not panicked, by his latest exchange of threats with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after the U.S. president said at the United Nations that his country would have “to totally destroy North Korea” if forced to defend itself or its allies. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

The NFL was in President Donald Trump's crosshairs again Sunday morning.

He took to Twitter before the Week 3 games kicked off, saying, "If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!"

He also said the NFL's attendance and ratings drops were in part a result of players who have protested police brutality and racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem:

Trump's tweets Sunday morning came after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement following the president's comments at a rally in Alabama on Friday:

The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we've experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.

Trump responded to Goodell's statement on Twitter as well:

The president made waves at a rally for Sen. Luther Strange, per Eric Bradner of CNN, and Bryan Armen Graham of the Guardian shared Trump's comments:

One comment in particular that stood out was the president saying, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired!'"

He also criticized the NFL for the league's efforts to minimize concussion and hit-related injury issues with penalties.

As Miranda Green of CNN detailed, a number of NFL teams and players, as well as athletes in other sports such as the NBA, issued statements criticizing the president.

What's more, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle passed along a photo from the publication's Santiago Mejia showing the Oakland Athletics' Bruce Maxwell becoming the first player in Major League Baseball to kneel during the national anthem.