Donald Trump sided with the National Football League (NFL) on their new policy on players kneeling for the national anthem, saying that anyone who refuses to stand “shouldn’t be in the country,” Yahoo News is reporting.
Speaking to Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade Thursday morning, Trump praised the NFL for the new policy, which will require players to either stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room. Trump suggested that allowing players to stay in the locker rooms might have even been too lenient.
“I don’t think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it’s good.”
He went on to suggest that perhaps America isn’t the best place for those who aren’t willing to show the appropriate amount of patriotism.
“Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the NFL announced new rules this week that require all players on the sidelines to stand for the national anthem. However, as a compromise for players who may not want to stand, the league offered players the opportunity to stay in the locker room for the anthem. The league also gave teams leeway in setting their own rules for national anthem protests.
The decision was applauded by the Trump administration. Vice President Mike Pence tweeted that the decision was a “win” for the NFL, the fans, and for America.
However, within the NFL, the decision has been met with mixed reactions. As reported by the Inquisitr, New York Jets CEO Christopher Johnson offered to pay the fines for any NFL players who don’t stand for the anthem.
“I never want to put restrictions on the speech of our players. Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But I understand if they felt the need to protest.”
The national anthem controversy began in 2016 when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was observed kneeling during the national anthem during preseason games. Colin said he was doing so to call attention to the matter of police brutality. Soon, the protests spread to other players, and even to high school games – football or otherwise.
Kaepernick himself became the focal point of the protests, and also the target of intense derision. Ultimately, he found himself a persona non grata in the NFL, and as of this writing, does not have an NFL contract.