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While in Huntsville, Alabama, President Trump said, ‘Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘get that son-of-a-b**** off the field right now, out. He’s fired.”
USA TODAY

By unleashing his own despicable brand of fire and fury against the National Football League and the First Amendment rights of its players Friday night, President Donald Trump exhibited his failure to grasp the lesson every schoolyard bully learned long ago:

Don’t pick on the football players.

In an uplifting sign of solidarity against the appalling close-mindedness of the President of the United States, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith both did what so many in Washington still seem unwilling to do:

They stood up to Trump, calling him out Saturday morning for what can only be described as a pathetic lack of leadership.

After the President said Friday night at a speech in Huntsville, Ala., that protesting the national anthem should be a fire-able offense – “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!” – and mocked the NFL’s attempts to make the game safer at a time when concern for concussions and chronic brain injuries has never been greater, Goodell and Smith were ready for him.

Smith, who often stands at odds with Goodell on player-related issues, went first.

“Whether or not Roger (Goodell) and the owners will speak for themselves about their views on player rights and their commitment to player safety remains to be seen,” Smith said in a statement posted on Twitter. “This union, however, will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks.”

Goodell definitely spoke for himself minutes later.

“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture,” Goodell said in his statement, which also appeared on Twitter.  “There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month.  

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of…