Trump slams National Football League for not forcing players to stand for USA anthem

NFL and Players Association Issue Joint Statement Amid Protests: Nothing Resolved

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says players aren't trying to be "disrespectful to the flag" when they kneel during the National Anthem.

Trump remarks came after the NFL on Tuesday decided not to implement a rule that would require players to stand during the national anthem.

Goodell described the dialogue between owners, the National Football League and the players as "unprecedented" and that discipline to players for kneeling was not discussed in any of the meetings.

Goodell addressed the situation involving some players refusing to stand during the National Anthem. "I can't deal with hypotheticals", Goodell said.

Goodell wrote a letter to owners saying he would prefer players stand during the anthem. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues. We spent today talking about the issues that players have been trying to bring attention to - issues to make our communities better.

"I will tell you that our players are men of great character - they have a very deep understanding and tremendous knowledge of the issues that are going on in all our communities".

Here is the text of the joint statement from the NFL and the NFL Players Association.

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Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who first popularized the gesture a year ago, said he settled on kneeling as a form of protest because it is widely seen as a gesture of respect. He's also said the the team believes that "in this hard time of division and conflict, it is more important than ever for football to be a great unifier".

Goodell takes a question, "Do you have a commitment from the players that they will stand for the anthem - did you ask for that?"

Goodell repeatedly pointed to "the opportunity that exists with our players to try to go and really make a difference in our communities in a positive way", calling those efforts "things that we all believe are necessary to do, and that's what we'll continue to do" moving forward.

The concept of kneeling or sitting during the Star-Spangled Banner originated last pre-season when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, as a way to highlight perceived racial injustice, and became more commonplace after Trump said in September that any player kneeling should be "fired".

Blank said he thinks players kneeling is "fine".

Other players followed suit, and the movement spread after criticism from US President Donald Trump last month.

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