Trump Eviscerates NFL, Calls Out 'Stupid' New Anthem Policy
The National Football League continues to be plagued by backlash after last season’s anthem protests, and the league is trying to pick up the pieces.
At a Montana campaign rally on Thursday, President Donald Trump said that the NFL’s new anthem policy is “worse” than their previous one.
“I don’t want to cause controversy but how about they passed this stupid thing. You don’t have to do this anymore. If you don’t respect the flag or if you don’t like the country — or whatever it is — just go into the locker room,” he said, according to The Hill.
“I think in many respects that’s worse. Isn’t this worse than not standing, you know? I think that’s worse.”
The new policy, announced by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in May, mandates that players who are on the sidelines for the playing of the national anthem must stand. However, the policy also gives the players who don’t want to stand the choice of staying in the locker room and not participating.
Goodell announced the league would fine teams and league personnel who do not “stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”
The NFL added at the time that it will fine any team whose players are seen kneeling, sitting or otherwise not showing “appropriate respect” for the national anthem. On top of that, each team will have the capacity to fine players further for an anthem violation.
The new policy reportedly had the support of 24 of the league’s 32 team owners.
The previous policy on the national anthem only suggested that players “should” stand for the anthem.
The controversy surrounding national anthem protests was sparked by then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016. It has since grown into a big enough issue that Trump has addressed it on numerous occasions.
In September he suggested that the league fire or suspend players who do not respect the flag.
If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast,” he tweeted. “Fire or suspend!”
At the time the new policy was announced, Trump appeared on “Fox & Friends” and said that the new policy is a step in the right direction, and suggested those who don’t believe in standing “shouldn’t be in the country.”
“I don’t think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it’s good,” Trump said of the NFL’s new policy. “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem.”
Last month, Trump canceled the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles visit to the White House after only a few members on the team would show up.
The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
“They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country,” he said, according to USA Today.
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