Now playing
15:01
Bob Costas on NFL protests (full interview)
Stephen Curry Van Jones Show
CNN
Stephen Curry Van Jones Show
Now playing
02:58
Stephen Curry opens up about Trump feud
Steve Kerr Axe Files
Steve Kerr Axe Files
Now playing
01:58
NBA coach calls out Trump for NFL attacks
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/File
Now playing
01:06
Charles Barkley knocks Roy Moore
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 05:  Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Oakland Raiders looks on during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on November 5, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 05: Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Oakland Raiders looks on during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on November 5, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:47
Trump calls on NFL to suspend Marshawn Lynch
Now playing
01:41
Trump's war of words with LaVar Ball
lavar ball cuomo intv 2
CNN
lavar ball cuomo intv 2
Now playing
01:12
LaVar Ball: I sent Trump shoes after fallout
Now playing
01:58
UCLA basketball players released
Sep 24, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Marcus Peters (22) protests next to running back Charcandrick West (35) and defensive tackle Roy Miller (98) during the National Anthem prior to the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Marcus Peters (22) protests next to running back Charcandrick West (35) and defensive tackle Roy Miller (98) during the National Anthem prior to the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Now playing
01:28
How sports and politics clashed through history
Sports Illustrated
Now playing
01:28
Curry slams latest Sports Illustrated cover
Rex Ryan Trump NFL pissed orig vstan dlewis_00003104.jpg
Rex Ryan Trump NFL pissed orig vstan dlewis_00003104.jpg
Now playing
01:02
Ex-NFL coach who backed Trump: 'I'm pissed'
Now playing
02:02
Spike Lee, Hines Ward spar over politics in sports
whpb 09282017
CNN
whpb 09282017
Now playing
02:41
Sanders, reporter spar on Trump's NFL comments
nfl protests trump zw js orig_00001313.jpg
nfl protests trump zw js orig_00001313.jpg
Now playing
02:26
#TakeAKnee heats up on and off the field
Now playing
01:56
Costas: Patriotism comes in many forms
Pool
Now playing
01:24
Sessions: NFL protests are a big mistake

Story highlights

President Trump has said his opposition to protests has nothing to do with race

Costas: "The idea that this doesn't have something to do with race is preposterous"

(CNN) —  

Longtime NBC Sports broadcaster Bob Costas on Monday dismissed the idea that criticism of NFL players protesting during the national anthem has nothing to do with race, calling it “preposterous.”

President Donald Trump created a firestorm while campaigning Friday night in Alabama when he suggested NFL owners fire any “son of a bitch” who kneels in protest during the national anthem.

On Saturday and Sunday, the rhetoric continued on Twitter, culminating in widespread protests from NFL players. Team owners and coaches also spoke out.

Showdown over NFL anthem protests moves to Monday night

“The reaction is so universal, including from prominent NFL owners who have supported and donated to Trump’s campaign and to his inaugural committee,” Costas said on CNN’s “New Day.” “You have not heard a single person within the NFL raise a voice in support of what Trump said.”

The issue of players kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner” first became controversial last year when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee before a game in protest of police brutality and racism.

“What’s happened here is that what was already an issue raised primarily by Colin Kaepernick has expanded beyond the specific point that Kaepernick was trying to make – which is a very valid point – and now it’s become near-universal disgust with the President’s insulting remarks,” Costas told anchors Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

Berman noted that around 250 members of the NFL knelt during Sunday’s games, leading Costas to remark: “The President has galvanized players of all backgrounds, all beliefs.”

Early Monday, Trump again sent out a series of tweets on the issue, similar to those over the weekend. One tweet asserted his opposition to the kneeling protests had nothing to do with race.

But Costas asked, “Do you want a President of the United States who – even if you’re giving him the benefit of that doubt – is so tone-deaf to the racial implications of this?”

The broadcaster said, “The idea that this doesn’t have something to do with race is preposterous.”