During a rally in Louisville, Kentucky, President Donald Trump took time to bash NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, claiming credit for Kaepernick’s extended time on the free agent market by quoting an article that said owners were afraid they would get “an angry tweet” if they signed him.
Kaepernick, who stoked controversy during the 2016 season by kneeling for the national anthem to protest racial inequalities, became a free agent this offseason. Since March 9, NFL teams have been able to sign available players, but Kaepernick remains unsigned, and the market for his services remain “slim,” according to Bleacher Report.
In the Bleacher Report article, which Trump seemed to reference in Kentucky, an unnamed NFL executive said some teams were worried “Trump will tweet about the team.” The executive said about 10 percent of NFL teams have this mindset.
And he is hardly alone in his opinion. While Kaepernick inspired other athletes to protest and was praised by some, he also attracted plenty of detractors, leading to him being named the most disliked athlete in the NFL, per a Harris poll.
Trump seemingly referenced this in his speech when he said people in Kentucky “like it when people actually stand for the American flag.”
Still, observers blasted Trump’s statement on Monday, saying the president was unfairly using his status to target an individual and harm his career.
Kaepernick’s trouble finding a new employer has also drawn the attention of filmmaker Spike Lee, who wrote in an Instagram post Sunday that the situation smelled “MAD fishy.”