Donald Trump said Friday that he is willing to meet with NFL players and other athletes who have been taking a knee, in a stunning reversal from his open hostility to those athletes in the past, CNN is reporting.
Ever since then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first refused to stand for the national anthem back in 2016, as an attempt to call attention to social injustice, Trump has been nothing short of adversarial to those players. For example, he's on the record as saying that "any son of a b***h" who doesn't stand for the national anthem should be fired.
In fact, so incensed has Trump been about the subject that he even disinvited the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles from the customary post-championship White House visit over national anthem protests - even though no Eagles players ever took a knee during the anthem.
He's also been critical of the NFL's new policy, announced earlier this year, that it intended to put aside the national anthem controversy while at the same time not compelling players to stand for the anthem if they don't want to. The policy requires that players on the field stand for the anthem or be fined, but they are allowed to stay in the locker room if they so choose. Trump isn't on board.
"You have a lot of people in the NFL in particular, but in sports leagues, they're not proud enough to stand for our National Anthem. I don't like that."