NFL should make play­ers stand dur­ing an­them: Trump

The Prince George Citizen - - SPORTS -

WASHINGTON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump says “it is about time” that NFL com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell de­mands “that all play­ers STAND for our great Na­tional An­them-RE­SPECT OUR COUN­TRY.”

Trump made a ref­er­ence Wed­nes­day on Twit­ter to Good­ell’s meet­ings next week with NFL own­ers, where they will con­sider changes to a game man­ual that says play­ers “should” stand dur­ing the na­tional an­them. That’s a guide­line that the league has left to the dis­cre­tion of play­ers who have kneeled in larger num­bers af­ter Trump’s crit­i­cism.

NFL own­ers will have their an­nual fall meet­ing in New York next Tues­day and Wed­nes­day, and the league has in­vited the play­ers’ union to take part.

“Com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell reached out to NFLPA ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor DeMau­rice Smith (Wed­nes­day) and both he and player lead­er­ship will at­tend the league meet­ings next week,” the NFL said in a state­ment. “There has been no change in the cur­rent pol­icy re­gard­ing the an­them. The agenda will be a con­tin­u­a­tion of how to make progress on the im­por­tant so­cial is­sues that play­ers have vo­cal­ized. Ev­ery­one who is part of our NFL com­mu­nity has a tremen­dous re­spect for our coun­try, our flag, our an­them and our mil­i­tary, and we are com­ing to­gether to deal with these is­sues in a civil and con­struc­tive way.”

Good­ell told club ex­ec­u­tives Tues­day in a memo ob­tained by The As­so­ci­ated Press that the an­them is­sue is di­vid­ing the league from its fans. He said the NFL needs to move past the con­tro­versy.

“The real di­a­logue and the real is­sues have been over­taken by the con­tro­versy,” Good­ell told NFL Net­work. “What we want to do is get back to fo­cus­ing on the ac­tions that we want to take to re­ally im­prove our com­mu­ni­ties and sup­port our play­ers to get things done.”

Good­ell met Tues­day with Mi­ami Dol­phins play­ers, law en­force­ment and com­mu­nity lead­ers.

“The NFL is do­ing the hard work of try­ing to move from protest to progress, work­ing to bring peo­ple to­gether,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a state­ment.

Trump told sup­port­ers last month that own­ers should fire play­ers who kneel dur­ing the an­them, reignit­ing the move­ment started by for­mer San Fran­cisco quar­ter­back Colin Kaeper­nick over his view of po­lice mis­treat­ment of black males.

In an in­ter­view on Fox News Chan­nel’s (FNC) Han­nity air­ing Wed­nes­day night, Trump said the NFL could’ve avoided this is­sue by sus­pend­ing Kaeper­nick.

“I watched Colin Kaeper­nick and I thought it was ter­ri­ble,” Trump said. “And then it got big­ger and big­ger and started mush­room­ing. And frankly the NFL should have sus­pended him for one game and he would have never done it again. They could have then sus­pended him for two games and they could have sus­pended him again if he did it a third time, for the sea­son, and you would never have had a prob­lem.”

AP PHOTO

Hous­ton Astros sec­ond base­man Jose Al­tuve throws dur­ing prac­tice on Wed­nes­day in Hous­ton.

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