Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin ripped into President Trump for comments made earlier Thursday in which he said players who protest social inequality during the playing of the national anthem “maybe … shouldn’t be in the country.”
“He’s an idiot, plain and simple,” Baldwin said Thursday in a news conference. “I mean, listen, I respect the man because he’s a human being, first and foremost. But he’s being more divisive, which is not surprising. It is what it is.
“But for him to say anybody who doesn’t follow his viewpoints, or his constituent’s viewpoints should be kicked out of the country, it’s just not very empathetic. It’s not very American-like, to me. It’s not very patriotic. It’s not what this country was founded upon. So it’s kind of ironic to me that the President of the United States is contradicting what our country is really built on.”
Trump appeared in an interview on Fox & Friends on Thursday morning, praising the NFL for Wednesday’s announcement that the league was adopting a revised national anthem policy. Under the new rule, all players and team personnel present on the sideline are mandated to stand and show “respect” during the playing of the national anthem.
“You have to stand proudly for the national anthem,” Trump said on the broadcast. “You shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe they shouldn’t be in the country. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, and the NFL owners did the right thing.”
The NFL’s revised policy now allows players who would not wish to stand to remain in the locker room, but also stipulates that individual teams have the right to implement their own anthem protocols. The revision also orders that any violation of the league’s policy will result in fines for the offending franchise.
Said Baldwin: “I think that the NFL really missed it this time.”
Baldwin was not alone in speaking out against Trump on Thursday, as Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall also took issue with the remarks.
“It’s disgusting,” Marshall said. “It’s disgusting because of our first amendment rights. We have freedom of speech, freedom to protest. So because guys protest something, we have to be kicked out the country? That’s not how things should work.”
Multiple players declined to comment after because they viewed the President as inciting controversy and didn’t want to dignify comments they viewed as foolish. Said one who requested anonymity, “I’m not going to respond to a troll. He wants us to react and respond and move eyes away from the issues he has created. Hope you understand.”