Donald Trump on Friday inserted himself once again into the NFL’s national anthem policy debate, Yahoo News is reporting.
You may remember that, earlier this year, the NFL announced a national anthem policy that was intended to respect the players’ rights to protest while also protecting the visual of teams proudly standing while the anthem plays. Simply put, the policy allows players to remain in the locker room during the anthem if they so choose, but if they’re on the field, they must be standing for the anthem.
And while that is now months-old news, this week two related things happened that put the controversy, now approaching its two-year anniversary of being a thing, back into the mind of the president.
First, as SB Nation reported on Friday, the Miami Dolphins instituted a policy that builds upon the NFL’s policy. The new policy, laid out under the team’s Conduct Detrimental To The Team section of the player handbook, spells out the possibility of “a paid or unpaid suspension, a fine or both.” Repeat violators could be suspended for up to four games.
In light of the Dolphins’ new policy, the NFL took another look at its own anthem policy, and announced that its own policy is on hold until further notice, according to a companion Yahoo News report. Specifically, the league wants to wait until discussions with the players’ union, the NFLPA, have played out.
Donald Trump is having none of that. In a Friday night tweet, the 45th president made his feelings known about the new policy (or lack thereof).
“The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again – can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!”
Yahoo Sports writer Ryan Young notes that the NFL players’ contract absolutely does not say anything about standing at attention, hand on heart.
Trump’s suggestion was actually less harsh than a suggestion he made in a tweet earlier this year, where he suggested that “any son of a b***h” who doesn’t stand for the anthem should be fired.
Don’t expect the NFL to take either of Trump’s suggestions to heart, however, says Young.
“It’s hard to believe that the NFL or the NFLPA will take Trump’s suggestion seriously into their discussions over the next few weeks while attempting to solve this issue.”
Similarly, he says, don’t expect this to be the last you hear from Trump about the controversy.