Stephen Colbert didn’t mince words when it came to talking about the President’s polarizing criticism of NFL players who chose to take a knee during the national anthem during a campaign rally in Alabama on Friday.
On Tuesday, the Late Show host talked about the origins of the protest, which began last year when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem to protest institutional racism and police brutality. At the rally, Trump asked his supporters if they would like to see NFL owners respond to displays of the protest by shouting “Get that son of a b-tch off the field right now – he’s fired!”
““Wow! ‘Son of a b-tch’? That was unnecessary roughness!” Colbert said, mimicking a referee’s call. “There should be a flag on that play, and I’m going say a Confederate flag.” Colbert noted that 28 NFL teams released statements supporting players and that number of players protesting went from less than 10 to more that 250.
Colbert also took the President to task for his tweets about Sunday’s football games where Trump wrote that locked arms were good, but kneeling was “not acceptable,” predicting bad ratings.
“First of all, it doesn’t mean they’re on your side,” Colbert said regarding players locked arms. “And, second, ratings aren’t the only indicator of importance. I hear nobody tuned in for the Revolutionary War.”
Colbert also didn’t shy away from calling out Trump for the President’s tweet that “the issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race,” arguing that the his own election to office was influenced by racial politics.
“Wrong! Kneeling during the national anthem has everything to do with race,” he said. “Just like your presidency. Those players are protesting racial injustice. They’re not protesting the American flag. Saying that kneeling is a protest against the flag is like saying that Gandhi’s hunger strikes were a protest against snacking. You do realize that the civil rights activists weren’t sitting at the lunch counter for better grilled cheese?”
Watch the full clip below.