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National Football League kneelers 'maybe shouldn't be in country'

25 May 2018

This comes as no surprise, considering that Trump weighed in on the issue repeatedly a year ago in speeches and in social media, at one point even calling the protesting players "sons of bitches".

The players have been protesting over perceived police brutality since 2016. If they want to kneel, they have to do so in the locker room, the National Football League has decreed.

President Donald Trump has praised an NFL ban on players kneeling during the national anthem, questioning whether such protesters should stay in the US.

Marcio Jose Sanchez  AP FILE
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP FILE

"You have to stand proudly for the national anthem", Trump said Thursday morning on Fox & Friends, one of the president's favorite outlets for speaking his mind.

The code states that any "covered government official" may face fines and up to 15 years in prison for acting to "influence, exclusively on the basis of partisan political affiliation, an employment decision or employment practice of any private entity". Any players or team personnel who remain on the field, but do not stand during the anthem will fined. "Maybe they shouldn't be in the country".

"The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new "policy.' NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about", the NFL players" union said in a statement.

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"I don't think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still I think it's good", he told Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade. Trump had said the league was "going to hell" unless they prohibited the behavior. "I brought it out". "I don't think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it's good. you have to stand proudly for the National Anthem".

"If somebody [on the Jets] takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organisation, by me, not the players". "Do I prefer that they stand?"

"I never want to put restrictions on the speech of our players", he said. It's also fear of a president turning his base against a corporation.

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Trump's comments, taped Wednesday, came shortly hours after the NFL announced a policy that no longer requires players to be on the field during the playing of the anthem, but allows teams and the league to impose discipline for those who protest publicly during the song.

"Rather than show a little backbone themselves and support the right of athletes to protest peacefully, the league capitulated to a president who relishes demonising black athletes", it said.

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National Football League kneelers 'maybe shouldn't be in country'