Donald Trump, during a campaign stop in Reno, Nevada, told his crowd of thousands the National Football League was becoming “soft,” just like America, and that referees were destroying the game.
He made the comparison on the heels of talking about Iraq, and then spun off onto the NFL and the playoffs.
“It’s a Sunday, who the hell wants to watch these crummy games? I just want to watch the end,” he said, the Washington Post reported. “Let me end that story. So we gave them Iraq, we’re stupid. We’re stupid. I’ll change things. Believe me, I’ll change things. And again, we’re going to be so respected. I don’t want to use the word ‘feared.’ What I just said about a game – so I’m watching a game yesterday. What used to be considered a great tackle, a violent head-on [tackle] … you used to see these tackles and it was incredible to watch, right? Now they tackle, ‘Oh, head-on-head collision, 15 yards.'”
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He called the “whole game … screwed up,” the Washington Post continued.
And then he said: “Football has become soft. Football has become soft. Now, I’ll be criticized for that. They’ll say, ‘Oh, isn’t that terrible.’ But football has become soft like our country has become soft. … So many flags, right? So many flags.”
Trump, in a tweet, blamed referees for much of the game’s perceived demise.
“Referees are destroying the enjoyment of NFL games,” Trump wrote. “Slowing down the fun. Big shots. Jets game is ridiculous!”
He elaborated, to his Nevada crowd.
“It’s become weak and you know what? It’s going to affect the NFL,” he said. “I don’t even watch it as much anymore. It’s going to affect the NFL. I don’t watch it. The referees, they want to all throw flags so their wives see them at home, ‘Oh, there’s my husband.’ It’s true. ‘He just broke up – he just gave a 15-yard penalty on one of the most beautiful tackles made this year.’ Right?”
But New England Patriots’ star quarterback Tom Brady still received Trump’s kudos.
“It’s boring,” he said. “Although I love Tom Brady. I gotta tell you, I do love Tom. He’s a great guy. But [the game’s] different. But it’s become soft and our country has become soft.”