President Trump calls for kneeling NFL players to be fired

Former NFL player Anquan Boldin, USA Today columnist Christine Brennan, and ABC News' Ryan Smith discuss President Trump's call to fire NFL players protesting the national anthem.
7:37 | 09/24/17

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Transcript for President Trump calls for kneeling NFL players to be fired
frightening thought. This morning, a very different cause for concern here at home. A concern once again provoked by the president. There he was, Friday night, in Alabama, wading once more into the thicket of race relations in the country, attacking the predominantly African-American NFL players saying they're protesting racial injustice. Wouldn't you love the see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a Off the field right now. Out, he's fired. He's fired! While some, including in the military, find it deeply offensive not the stand for a flag for which many have given their lives, condemnation of trump's comments was widespread. From players across the league. Nearly half of all NFL teams, the NFL xhirgs, NBA star Lebron James, spreading to baseball last night. The president's response? Taking to Twitter. Doubling down on his attacks. Even suggesting fans boycott the NFL. Of course, we have seen that before. The president provokes on race, takes criticism, refuses to back down. This hour, we'll break town the president's provocations at home and abroad, along with the status of the GOP's latest Obamacare repeal and replace effort. Since it is Sunday, just minutes until the day's first NFL game kicks off in London, let's start with ABC's Ryan Smith outside of MetLife stadium in New Jersey, for today's jets-dolphins game. What is expected today at the games in reaction to what the president said? Reporter: Martha, think you could see one of the biggest days of protests that we have seen in professional sports. Rite now, there is nothing formally planned by the players. There were a great deal of meetings by players discussing what to do about this. Great deal of anger conveyed over the president's comments. Think Y I think you could see a number of protests at a number of games. I initially, all eyes will be on the jaug waurs-ravens game taking place overseas in London. That is the first game we'll see in America. A lot of dynamics there. Both teams's owners have not responded to president trump's comments. One of those owners donating to his inauguration committee. Major league baseballed a its first player take a knee. So I think what you have is the perfect storm of not only president trump's comments, but just a ground swell of support really for players being able to speak their minds, which may lead to a lot of different statements in a variety of different ways on NFL field this is Sunday. The president is asking fans to boycott the NFL. What do you think the reaction to that will be from the fans? Reporter: You know, I would say this. The average ticket price is around 172 bucks. Sthat not a lot of money for some. For many folks out there who come to watch NFL games, sthat a lot of money. Especially talking about bringing family members, friends to the game. Think you will always see people who will walk out, who might not come. To a large extent, people will stay in the seats. They're there to see football games. They're there to see the activity on the field. They don't want their politics being a part of their sports. While I think, I understand the president's call. A call to support the position he's taking. I think in many ways, don't think you'll see a mass exodus of fans walk ug out of games they paid so handsomely for tickets to go the see. Thank you, Ryan. Let's bring in "Usa today" columnist and ABC contributor Christine Brennan and former NFL player, anquan Boldin. I want to start with you. You just retired from the NFL. You remain active of player issues. How are the president's comments received? Do you expect more protests today? Ky tell you that the president's remarks is not taken well by players. As far as protests, I can't say because I'm not in the locker room. But what I would like to sees guys coming together in the form of solidarity. With coaches, owners, and general managers. I think the president's words are real divisive. I don't like the hate speech cominging out of his mouth. Neither do the players in the locker room. I think as a league, we need to stand together and show that we're all about uniting one another. Not divisive rhetoric that is coming out of the mouth of the president. There are report this is morning that the raiders offensive line, the only all African-American unit in the NFL plans to sit or kneel. This goes beyond sports. The NFL is almost 70% black. The NBA is 74% black. Yes. I mean, there's issues that players are dealing with. And the guys that are using the platform that they have to bring light to these issues. Kneeling, taking a knee, sitting during the national anthem has never been about disrespecting the the country or the flag, but about bringing unity to America as a whole. I think we all live in a great country. We're proud of where we live. There is work to be done on both ends. Christine, after the president spoke many Alabama, you had strong comments in an op Ed saying let it be noted that trump mustered more anger Friday over Kaepernick's personal decision to not stand for the national anthem than dedid for the neo-nazis and white supremacists who marched in charlottesville's deadly protests last month. Hen the president takes on the sports establishment, it brings it into light, Martha, in ways other issues might not. Sports is a national conversation always. That intersection of sports and culture. We're there now. This is not going away anytime soon. This story will build. And, clearly, I mean, he was with the rhetoric, people saw, with the venom. The anger. That he could muster more of that for Kol. Kaepernick, man taking a knee, exercising his first amendment right to do so than for the deadly protests in charlottesville. That's just -- stunning. I know others have pointed that out as well. But, this is -- this is a -- this is is a whole new territory for Donald Trump. If he really wants to get into that sports realm, because all these players have Twitter. They all are talking. They have a voice. And they have a following fans who love them and care for them in a way other people that trump has gone after, those people don't have that kind of following. Sports does. And Christine, just quickly. Is there an argument to be made that the football field not the place to protest? Certainly, there's that argue argument. But I think more and more, we have seen it from sports for generations. You and I have talked about it. Athletes make a stand. Ph Muhammad Ali. Billie Jean king. Sports is where where this is played out. Whether people like it or not, that part of sports and our culture is here to stay. Thank you very much. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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