Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch leaves the field at the end of the first half against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on September 24, 2017. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
President Donald Trump is calling on the NFL to suspend Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch for sitting during "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Sunday's game in Mexico City but standing for the Mexican national anthem.
Trump, who has repeatedly criticized NFL players who do not stand for the national anthem, took to Twitter early Monday morning to criticize Lynch for his protest before the game against the New England Patriots, who went on to win 33-8.
"Marshawn Lynch of the NFL's Oakland Raiders stands for the Mexican Anthem and sits down to boos for our National Anthem. Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down," Trump tweeted.
Lynch was actually standing during the first few bars of "The Star-Spangled Banner" on Sunday before taking a seat, according to ESPN. While Lynch stood for the Mexican anthem, he was not completely at attention, ESPN reported.
Trump's position since early in the 2017 season unified more NFL players to protest racial injustice before or during the anthem. He said during a political rally in Huntsville, Ala., on Sept. 22 that NFL owners should fire the players who knelt during the anthem.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement last season to kneel during the national anthem as a protest to denounce police brutality against African-Americans, social injustice and racial inequality.
Kaepernick filed a grievance under the collective bargaining agreement against the NFL last month, accusing all 32 owners of collusion against signing him to an NFL contract.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has stated on multiple occasions this season that Kaepernick is not being blackballed.
NFL owners and executives have been scrambling this season to determine the best response to players kneeling during the national anthem. NFL players who have demonstrated have said they are protesting racial inequality, but not the flag or the anthem itself.