President Donald Trump is again involving himself in the conversation about NFL players who protest during the national anthem.
A day after the anthem resurfaced in the news, Trump tweeted on the subject, criticizing the policy, calling out commissioner Roger Goodell and suggesting potential punishments for those who kneel.
The tweet reads:
“The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again - can’t believe it! 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!”
The NFL and its owners passed a new policy in May that calls for fines against teams whose players show any mode of disrespect during the anthem, while asking players who will not stand to remain in the locker room.
Shortly after the policy was passed, Trump praised it in an interview with “Fox & Friends,” saying that the NFL was “doing the right thing.”
“I think that’s good,” Trump said of the policy at the time. “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. Or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
The subject of the anthem and the new policy returned to headlines Thursday, when multiple media reports revealed the Miami Dolphins have classified it as conduct detrimental, which could allow for fines or suspensions of players who violate the policy. The team released a statement Friday saying it has made no decisions about if or how to punish violators, adding its classification was merely a “placeholder.”
The NFL and NFLPA issued a joint statement Thursday night saying the sides are working on a mutual resolution to the anthem issue, and all new rules will be put on hold while a resolution is sought.
Trump created an uproar from players in September of 2017 with inflammatory comments objecting to player protests during the anthem, protests that began when Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel during the anthem in the 2016 preseason. The issue has continued to be a prominent one for the president.
Earlier this year, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a sworn deposition — as part of Kaepernick’s collusion grievance against NFL owners — that Trump told him, “This issue is a very winning, strong issue for me. Tell [the owners] they can’t win this one. This one lifts me.”
—Field Level Media