US President Donald Trump is facing growing condemnation from the sports world after his criticism of players.
On Friday, Mr Trump said the National Football League (NFL) should fire players who protest during the US anthem.
High-profile football players as well as basketball star LeBron James openly criticised Mr Trump in response.
One NFL team owner said Mr Trump’s comments were “offensive” but Mr Trump has gone on to repeat his criticism.
At a rally on Friday night, Mr Trump said NFL players who protested during the playing of the national anthem should be fired by their team – referencing a controversial string of protests over race relations started by player Colin Kaepernick last year.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now… he is fired,” he told a cheering crowd.
The NFL Players’ Association said the president had crossed a line by effectively telling players to just “shut up and play”.
Association president Eric Winston said Mr Trump’s comments were “a slap in the face to the civil rights heroes of the past and present”.
On Saturday night, the Oakland Athletics’ Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to kneel in protest during the national anthem, mimicking the gesture of protest started by Colin Kaepernick.
Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers – Kaepernick’s former team – said he would continue to support his players.
“The callous and offensive comments made by the President are contradictory to what this great country stands for,” he said in a statement.
Kaepernick’s mother, Teresa, also joined in the backlash, referencing Trump’s “son of a bitch” comment and tweeting: “Guess that makes me a proud bitch!”
Guess that makes me a proud bitch!
— Teresa Kaepernick (@B4IleaveU) September 23, 2017
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
A #POTUS whose name alone creates division and anger. Whose words inspire dissension and hatred can't possibly "Make America Great Again"
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) September 23, 2017