“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture,” Goodell said in the statement.
“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.”
New York Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch called Trump’s NFL comments “inappropriate” on Saturday.
“Comments like we heard last night from the president are inappropriate, offensive and divisive,” their statement said. “We are proud of our players, the vast majority of whom use their NFL platform to make a positive difference in our society.”
Trump’s remarks at rally
At Alabama GOP Sen. Luther Strange’s campaign rally Friday,
Trump said team owners should fire players for taking a knee during the national anthem. He added that if fans would “leave the stadium” when players kneel in protest during the national anthem, “I guarantee, things will stop.”
Trump appeared to be referring to Colin Kaepernick — formerly with the San Francisco 49ers, but currently without a team — who last year drew national attention for refusing to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to kickoff.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in August 2016.
Then, on Saturday morning, Trump tweeted that Curry’s invitation to the White House was revoked.
“Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!” Trump wrote.
Curry had remarked at the Warriors’ media day Friday that he doesn’t want to attend the White House ceremony scheduled to commemorate the title.
“‘By acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to,” Curry told reporters. ”It’s not just the act of not going. There are things you have to do on the back end to actually push that message into motion.”