The two met in 2002 — just as Brady claimed his first Super Bowl title, reports CBS Sports. He was hired by Trump’s organization as a judge on the Miss USA pageant, and the two have remained supportive of one another through the years. “I met him probably 15, 16 years ago,” Brady said of Trump. “We’ve played golf together many, many times and I’ve always had a good time with him. He’s been a friend of mine.” During a rally speech in Alabama on Friday, Trump stated, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, ‘Get that son of a b–ch off the field right now. Out, you’re fired.’” He followed this up by pouring more gasoline on the fire with a series of tweets. “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect…our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem,” he wrote. “If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”
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Numerous celebrities — including Diddy — have also joined in standing behind the players, causing a resurgence of the #TakeAKnee hashtag on social media. In August 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines — and sparked a movement — when he took a knee during the national anthem. “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 said at the time. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” On Sunday, multiple players on both the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars took a knee during the national anthem. Others, including coaches, linked arms on the sideline in solidarity.