NFL, Roger Goodell Respond To Donald Trump's 'Divisive' Comments

The executive director of the NFL players union has a message for President Trump, 'We will never back down.' This statement comes after the President suggested owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem.

The day after President Donald Trump made comments about the National Football League and its players protesting, both commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association executive DeMaurice Smith released strong statements in response. 

“Whether or not Roger [Goodell] and the owners will speak for themselves about their views on player rights and their commitment to player safety remains to be seen,” Smith said in a statement, referring both to the anthem remarks and Trump's lamentations regarding the lack of old-school violence in the sport. “This union, however, will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke out, in a statement Saturday morning, also criticizing the president's comments: 

"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's comments came during a campaign stop for US Senate candidate Luther Strange in Huntsville, Ala., Friday night. 

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"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," Goodell said in the statement.

"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."

A similar statement from the NFL Players Association also came out earlier, criticizing the president's statements. 

Union president DeMaurice Smith responded in a strong 

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