NFL players' kneeling is about 'bringing unity' to America, not 'disrespecting' it: Former player

Former player Anquan Boldin said, "We're all proud of where we live."

— -- Former NFL player Anquan Boldin responded to President Donald Trump's call for firing players who kneel during the national anthem, saying the silent protest by some professional football players has nothing to do with "disrespecting this country."

“Kneeling, taking a knee, or sitting during the national anthem has never been about disrespecting this country," Boldin said to ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz on "This Week" Sunday. "It has never been about disrespecting the flag. It has been about bringing unity to America as a whole.”

The former star wide receiver whose 14-year career included stints with the San Franciso 49ers, the Baltimore Ravens and the Arizona Cardinals was critical of the president's condemnation of kneeling players.

"I can tell you that the president's remarks isn't taken well by players," Boldin said. "I think the president's words are real divisive. I don't like the hate speech that is coming out of his mouth. Neither do the players in the locker room. So I think as a league, we need to stand together and show that we're all about uniting one another, and not the divisive rhetoric that is coming out of the mouth of the president."

The president doubled down on his call for national anthem protesters to be fired this morning on Twitter, saying, "If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!"