The former head of the CIA, Gen. Michael Hayden, is a lifelong San Francisco 49ers fan, but has never been happy with the team's former quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protests against police brutality, he said.
All of this went without mention by the president, who instead spent much of the last week tweeting about the National Football League controversy, in which players had chosen to kneel or not attend the anthem at all, in protest of police violence against people of color, as well as against other injustices.
It was the latest salvo from Mr Trump after he ignited the fight with the players in the biggest-grossing United States pro sports league last week. You can not have people disrespecting our national anthem, our flag and our country.
"Many people have died and they were fighting for our country, they were fighting for our flag, they were fighting for our national anthem".
"But I believe it is highly disrespectful to kneel to the national anthem and not respect your country".
The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations.
"Anybody that don't stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country", said Richard Petty, the NASCAR driver with the most wins in history, according to CBS. Trump criticized the protests, which began previous year in response to police killings of black men, at a rally in Alabama on Friday, saying that team owners should fire players who take a knee.
"You are asking us to abandon what we loved about togetherness and make choices of division".
On Sunday, players inside Bank of America Stadium and several other games nationwide took a knee, locked arms in solidarity or didn't even take the field during the national anthem.
This sentiment echoes a similar message that National Football League spokesperson Brian McCarthy made past year in response to the Kaepernick protest.
The apparel maker weighed in amid a public showdown between President Trump and the athletes who refuse to stand during "The Star-Spangled Banner".
And in October 2016, football players at Berkeley High School took a knee to protest racial inequality and diversity issues at BHS, following the example of Kaepernick.