Trump: NFL players should be suspended for kneeling during anthem

Credit: Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Credit: Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

President Donald Trump said Friday that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem should be suspended as team owners and the NFL Players Association agreed to halt the enforcement of rules regarding the new national anthem policy.

Team owners approved the policy in May. It would require players to stand during the anthem or stay in the locker room or off-field while it’s being played. Players who violate the policy could face a fine.

The decision to halt enforcement of the policy came after The Associated Press reported that Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the anthem could be suspended for up to four games.

“The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again – can’t believe it!” Trump wrote Friday on Twitter.

“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!”

There is no requirement that NFL players stand during the national anthem.

The president has consistently slammed players who have chosen to kneel during the anthem, framing the protest as un-American. Then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to kneel during the anthem in a silent protest against police violence in 2016. The protest got mixed reactions, but other NFL players later followed Kaepernick’s lead to protest inequality.

Trump suggested last year that NFL team owners should fire players who refuse to stand during the anthem, telling a crowd in Alabama that “that’s a total disrespect for our heritage.” He told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” last month that players who decide not to stand for the anthem “maybe ... shouldn’t be in the country.”

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