Donald Trump targets Jemele Hill following ESPN anchor's suspension
The Disney-owned broadcaster suspended Hill for two weeks on Monday for a series of tweets in response to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ comments that he would have benched any Cowboys player who “disrespects the flag” by kneeling during the national anthem. Hill had previously tweeted that Trump is a “bigot” and “a white supremacist”.
Just so we're clear: I'm not advocating a NFL boycott. But an unfair burden has been put on players in Dallas & Miami w/ anthem directives.
If fans really are that upset about what JJ & Stephen Ross have done, don't call the players sellouts, but you're watching every Sunday.
“Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines,” the network said in a statement. “She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet. In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences. Hence this decision.”
“I think that’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make,” Sanders said at the time.
The NFL Players Association has defended players’ right to protest.
Trump’s former Democratic rival in the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton, also backed the players, saying in a speech on Monday, “They are protesting racism and injustice, and they have every right to do so.”
It was not clear what exactly Trump was demanding, and representatives for the White House did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The NFL gave up its federal tax-exempt status in 2015, according to media reports, although US states and localities still offer the multi-billion dollar league tax breaks in order to attract teams and to finance stadiums.
A number of Republican lawmakers suggested in September that tax sweeteners should end given the protests, the Washington Post reported.
Critics of Trump, a Republican, have said he is fanning a controversy over the national anthem at NFL games to distract from pressing issues his administration is dealing with, from a powerful hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico to tensions with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.
The first amendment of the US Constitution bars the government from limiting free speech, including prohibiting protests around the national anthem or punishing people who choose not to stand. The national anthem is played before every NFL football game and many other sporting events.
October 12, 2017
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