Riders lottery president makes waves with pro-Trump comments

Fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders are lashing out after the president of Friends of the Riders aligned himself with U.S. President Donald Trump and his views of football players.

'I will no longer support the Friends of the Riders,' says fan

The Saskatchewan Roughriders stood arm in arm during the national anthem on Sunday but the former club president has spoken out against such action. (CBC News )
Fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders are lashing out after the Friends of the Riders president aligned himself with U.S. President Donald Trump and his views of kneeling football players.
Tom Shepherd, a former president of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, currently runs the team's fundraising lottery. (CBC News)

Tom Shepherd runs the lottery which sells draw tickets and 50/50 tickets to raise money for the CFL team. 

On Sunday, before the Rider game against the Calgary Stampeders, Shepherd spoke out on the CKRM pre-game show.

He called Trump his man and said he agreed with his stance that football players who kneel during the national anthem as an act of protest should be fired.

The players were doing so as a political statement against racism and division in the country.

On Sunday, many NFL players responded to Trump's comments by kneeling, linking arms, or staying in locker rooms during the national anthem.
Protests in the U.S. move to Canada as the Riders lock arms during the national anthem. (Paul Dornstauder/CBC)

The Roughriders linked arms during the Canadian national anthem to join the movement.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders sent out a statement Monday, stressing that Shepherd's "opinions and comments are not representative of our club."

It also said "we stand alongside our players and support their individual right to freedom of speech and their beliefs." 

Rider fans took to Twitter to distance themselves from Shepherd, calling him a "clown" and a "fossil."

Many shared the sentiment that he should leave the organization or face risking the loss of ticket sales due to his outspokenness.

When asked for comment, Shepherd replied to CBC in an email with: "I think I said enough."

Shepherd has a long history with the Saskatchewan Roughriders including serving as club president from 1987 to 1989. He was inducted into the Canadian football hall of fame in 2008.