Sunday 24 June 2018

Donald Trump drags Usain Bolt into anthem row

Donald Trump has dragged Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt into the ongoing anthem row in the US

Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt

Sean Nolan

US President Donald Trump has dragged Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt into the ongoing row about athletes protesting during the US national anthem.

Trump tweeted a video of the 100m world record holder pausing an interview at the 2012 London Olympics as the US national anthem began to play in the background along with the message: 'Even Usain Bolt from Jamaica, one of the greatest runners and athletes of all time, showed RESPECT for our National Anthem!'

Bolt, who was not tagged in the tweet, has yet to respond.

The tweet from Trump keeps the controversy over athletes protesting during the playing of the anthem bubbling away.

The move comes after a survey revealed the majority of Americans disagree with President Trump's assertion that football players should be fired for kneeling during the national anthem, even though most say they would personally stand during the song, according to an exclusive Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday.

The September 25-26 poll found that 57 percent of adults do not think the National Football League should fire players who kneel.

This included 61 percent of NFL fans who watch at least a few games per season.

The results were split along party lines, however, as 82 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of Republicans disagreed with the president's comments about firing football players.

Trump waded into the issue last week at a political rally when he bemoaned what he saw as a decline in the sport. Among other things, Trump criticised players who want to draw attention to what they believe is social and racial injustice by refusing to stand during the anthem.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say 'get that son of a bitch off the field right now'," Trump said at the rally. "He's fired!"

Trump, who once owned a pro football team in a now-defunct rival league, added that the NFL is "ruining the game" with a fixation on player safety.

The president's comments sparked a swift and widespread rebuke from the NFL last weekend as many players, coaches and owners kneeled, locked arms or stayed off the field during pregame ceremonies.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll explored the complicated feelings that many Americans have about how to express their nationality.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News