Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin didn’t take too kindly to President Donald Trump’s comments regarding the NFL’s new rules sharply restricting pregame protests.
Trump, speaking on Fox & Friends, said he thinks the NFL owners “did the right thing” with the new policy — which will require players to stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room until it’s over.
“I don’t think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it’s good,” Trump said. “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem.”
Baldwin, who said he thinks “the NFL really missed it this time” with the new policy, spoke to reporters on Thursday about Trump’s comments — specifically the part where Trump suggested players who do not stand for the national anthem should be deported.
“He’s an idiot, plain and simple,” Baldwin said, according to Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune. “Listen, I respect the man because he’s a human being, first and foremost, but he’s just being more divisive — which is not surprising.
“But for him to say that anybody who doesn’t follow viewpoints or his constituents’ viewpoints should be kicked out of the country, it’s not very empathetic. It’s not very American-like actually to me. It’s not very patriotic, it’s not what this country was founded upon. It’s kind of ironic to me that the president of the United States is contradicting what our country is really built on.”
Baldwin has supported players taking a knee during the national anthem since it first started, and has consistently worked to help bring attention to and fix the issues in the United States that are at the root of the protests.
He has openly called for police departments across the country to review training methods and has worked with police departments across Washington to help create a positive change. He also joined NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in a joint-letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee last fall to lobby for sentencing reform.
He even posed the question last year wondering why players are being criticized so harshly for taking a knee during the anthem when he sees “people that are drunk with their hats still on, yelling” during the anthem.
“The NFL just doesn’t get it,” Baldwin said about the new policy on KIRO-AM radio on Wednesday. “They aren’t trying to get to the gist of it. I don’t think they ever did care about the initiatives, what the players care about. It’s just about their bottom line.”
Baldwin said Thursday that Trump’s comments and the NFL’s new policy is only going to be more divisive, and doesn’t come close to fixing the issue. As for his and his fellow Seahawks teammates’ next move, though, Baldwin isn’t sure.
“We’re still processing it, to be honest with you,” Baldwin said. “It’s a little traumatizing, so it’s going to take us a while to process it.”
More from Yahoo Sports:
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• Footage of Bucks player’s arrest released
• Terez Paylor: NFL players react to league’s new anthem policy