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NFL team owners will consider requiring football players to stand for the U.S. national anthem after President Donald Trump on Tuesday suggested using tax laws to penalize the league for players who kneel in protest of racial injustice.
Trump last month called on NFL team owners to fire players who kneel during the anthem to protest police violence against black Americans. Critics contend Trump is fanning the controversy to distract from issues including devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, tensions with North Korea and difficulties in pushing healthcare and tax overhauls through the U.S. Congress.
President Donald Trump says "it is about time" that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell demands "that all players STAND for our great National Anthem-RESPECT OUR COUNTRY." Trump made a reference Wednesday on Twitter to Goodell's meetings next week with NFL owners, where they will consider changes to a game manual that says players "should" stand during the national anthem.
Trump told supporters last month that owners should fire players who kneel during the anthem, reigniting the movement started by ex-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick over his view of police mistreatment of black males.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell surrendered peacefully to Trump on Tuesday when he sent a memo to all the teams saying players should stand for the anthem while adding some soggy language about respecting the players’ desire for social change.
Since the vast majority of the players who have kneeled for the anthem are African American, Trump was essentially saying: “Get that black son-of-a-bitch off the field” and everyone appeared to agree that Trump had crossed a line.
In a tweet he complained the league had received "massive" tax breaks, while some of its players had been "disrespecting" the national anthem.
On Sunday, US Vice-President Mike Pence walked out of an NFL game between Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers after several players refused to stand. Mr Pence said he could not be present at an event that "disrespects our soldiers, our flag" after abandoning the game in his home state of Indiana.
President Trump said Wednesday it’s “about time” after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to teams calling on players to "honor our flag" and stand for the national anthem. “It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem – RESPECT OUR COUNTRY,” Trump tweeted early Wednesday.
The president’s comments come a day after Goodell sent a letter to NFL executives and club presidents, aiming to move past the weeks-long feud between the White House and NFL players who have kneeled or otherwise protested during the national anthem at the start of NFL games.