President Donald Trump insists his criticism of US NFL players who kneel during the national anthem is not racial in nature, despite the act being a protest against police brutality across the country.
“This has nothing to do with race. I’ve never said anything about race,” Trump told reporters in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Sunday.
He added: “I think the owners should do something about it. It’s very disrespectful to our flag and our country.”
In a Friday speech in Alabama, Trump called NFL players who kneel “sons of bitches,” and then doubled down on his criticism in a series of follow-up posts on Twitter.
“Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!” he wrote.
Over the weekend, Trump blasted several African-American sports figures in the NFL and the NBA, including Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry.
Some, like Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, shot back by calling Trump a “bum”.