Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon continued his silent protest during the national anthem on Thursday night. And this time, he drew some personal attention -- and attacks -- from the White House.
Both the president and his social media director took shots at Vernon on Twitter on Friday morning, though the president did not refer to Vernon by name. And they were both reacting to a story on Breitbart -- a right-wing media outlet -- that referred to his decision to continue his protest on Thanksgiving as "just beneath contempt."
Shortly after midnight, after the Giants' 20-10 loss to the Washington Redskins, Dan Scavino Jr., the White House social media director, took the first shot, which included a link to the Brietbart story. From his Twitter account (@DanScavino) he wrote:
"While @NFL ratings continue to plummet … Not So Thankful: @Giants @OlivierVernon54 Kneels During the National Anthem on Thanksgiving Day (while a Master Sergeant of the United States Army sings) at FedEx Field…"
A few hours later, around 6:30 a.m., President Donald Trump quote-tweeted Scavino's remarks and added "Can you believe that the disrespect for our Country, our Flag, our Anthem continues without penalty to the players. The Commissioner has lost control of the hemorrhaging league. Players are the boss!"
While @NFL ratings continue to plummet📉...- Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) November 24, 2017
Not So Thankful: @Giants @OlivierVernon54 Kneels During the National Anthem on Thanksgiving Day (while a Master Sergeant of the United States Army sings) at FedEx Field...https://t.co/wWvkUMiIzc
Can you believe that the disrespect for our Country, our Flag, our Anthem continues without penalty to the players. The Commissioner has lost control of the hemorrhaging league. Players are the boss! https://t.co/udXP5MR8BC- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2017
Vernon appeared to be the only player to kneel during the anthem prior to the three Thanksgiving Day games, though several players reportedly raised their fists during or right after the anthem was played.
Vernon, the son of a retired police officer, began his protest in late September after a now-infamous speech by the president, who called on the NFL to fire any players that didn't stand for the anthem and referred to anyone protesting as a "son of a bitch." Vernon then decided to join the protest, started one year earlier by then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest against police brutality and the treatment of minorities in this country.
"You know what? I had a lot of patience," Vernon said after his protest began. "I had a lot of patience from last year about what was going on. And I respect this nation, this country. All those remarks (from the president) just built up and just hearing that, kind of struck a chord."
The Giants did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the remarks from the White House. But Vernon's agent, David Canter, used his Twitter account to offer support for his client.
"Never been more honored to work for or more proud of a client," Canter tweeted. "Sometimes doing the uncomfortable thing is the only way to bring about change. I love you @oliviervernon54."