United States president Donald Trump got his own 'national anthem' moment on Monday and received a mixed reception from football fans in America's conservative south, a partial rebuke on his political home turf.
Tens of thousands of fans at a college championship game in Atlanta between the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama booed and cheered as he took to the field for the national anthem.
Trump, who has made a respectful observation of the national anthem at sporting events a fiercely divisive political issue, stood at midfield and sang some of the "Star-Spangled Banner," while remaining silent at other times.
A reporter near Trump was unable to determine whether he was singing or saying, Daily News said in a report.
A camera near the locker room where the Alabama players were exiting meanwhile appeared to catch one shout an expletive as he made his way to the field.
But the president's eldest son Donald Trump Jr denied there had been any jeering. "Sounds like some serious cheering to me," he wrote while retweeting a video clip of the incident.
Sounds like some serious cheering to me. https://t.co/s3TZJGPtiT
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 9, 2018
According to The Telegraph, some commentators on social media ignited speculation about Trump's mental health. Others pointed out how the president had railed against football players failing to respect the national anthem.
The man CLEARLY does not know the words to the National Anthem. This is indisputable.
All of that hate he has spewed toward Black folk about taking a knee and the man doesn’t know the words.
A disgrace. https://t.co/JrwPXRXSoY
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) January 9, 2018
IDEA: Before spending 6 months lecturing football players about respecting the national anthem MAYBE LEARN THE WORDS https://t.co/sNtVhGhZg0
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) January 9, 2018
Trump insisted that the protesting footballers are "disrespecting" the flag and the anthem. He had called on NFL fans to boycott any games where players knelt during the anthem and called on NFL to change its policy.
Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. NFL should change policy! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
The president had previously also courted controversy over his singing of the national anthem in May last year. According to Global News, on Memorial Day, Trump swayed back and forth while patting his chest before beginning to sing along to portions of the song.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jan 09, 2018 12:50 PM