Trump lauds NFL decision on US anthem

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United States President Donald Trump welcomed the National Football League's decision to fine teams if players on the field refuse to stand for the national anthem.
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United States President Donald Trump welcomed the National Football League’s decision to fine teams if players on the field refuse to stand for the national anthem, saying if they don’t want to stand maybe they should not be in the country.

Last season some NFL players kneeled during the anthem to protest police shootings of unarmed black men, provoking a controversy. Trump criticized the players for being unpatriotic and repeatedly demanded an end to such protests.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced on Wednesday a new policy that will fine teams if players on the field fail to stand during the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Players who choose not to stand may remain in the locker room until the anthem is finished.

“I think that’s good. I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms but still I think it’s good,” Trump told Fox News yesterday. “You have to stand, proudly, for the national anthem. Or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”

The NFL Players Association said it was not consulted and may issue a challenge should the policy violate the collective bargaining agreement.

The NAACP also criticized the decision. “Instead of coming together to address an issue disproportionately plaguing the African-American, the NFL owners have chosen to bury their heads and silence players,” it said in a statement. “Players cannot disconnect from the aggression African-Americans face every day.”

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the protests in 2016 as a way of drawing attention to police brutality, social injustice and racial inequity.

In 2017, Kaepernick was unable to get an NFL job. Free agents Kaepernick and Eric Reid are suing the NFL, saying owners colluded to keep them unsigned as retaliation for the protests.


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