President Donald Trump was again focused on NFL players protesting police brutality and racial injustice while he spoke at a rally on Tuesday, despite the fact that hours earlier his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was found guilty on eight counts of financial crimes, and his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pled guilty to eight criminal counts, per CNN's Chris Cillizza.
According to Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star, while speaking in West Virginia, Trump called the NFL "unpatriotic" and criticized ESPN for not broadcasting the national anthem prior to games so as not to show players kneeling during the anthem as a means of protest.
CBS News shared more of Trump's comments:
The topic of NFL players kneeling during the anthem as a means of protest against racial injustice and police brutality has made headlines ever since then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first did so in 2016. Since then, Trump has weighed in a number of times, Kaepernick has filed a grievance against the league alleging collusion and discussions about rule changes have occurred.
The NFL initially instituted a policy this offseason calling for players and team personnel to either stand during the anthem or stay in the locker room, although it ultimately released a joint statement with the NFLPA freezing the policy until another solution is reached.
Trump praised the policy in May while suggesting players who kneel maybe shouldn't even be in the United States, per Fox and Friends: "You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem. You shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there. Maybe they shouldn't be in the country ... the NFL owners did the right thing"
He also said league owners should "get that son of a bitch off the field right now" if a player knelt when talking about the issue at a rally in 2017.
Trump has turned the kneeling into a talking point a number of times in an effort to get a reaction from his base, and other news regarding his former associates didn't stop him from doing the same Tuesday.