Trump demands NFL kick players out for taking a knee during national anthem

trump nfl football patriots
President Donald Trump, flanked by New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, left, and owner Robert Kraft, holds a New England Patriots football helmet and jersey during a ceremony celebrating their Superbowl victory on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on April 19, 2017.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

President Donald Trump voiced his firm stance against the NFL national anthem protests that split the sports and politics community throughout the 2017 season.

“The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again – can’t believe it!,” Trump said in a tweet on Friday. “Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart?”

Kneeling during the playing of the nation anthem, which began as a way of protesting police brutality and racial injustice, was criticized by some who believed it was unpatriotic and disrespectful.

The protests drew ire from Trump, who railed against the act in various campaign speeches.

On Friday, Trump demanded NFL commissioner Roger Goodell “make a stand” and floated his own idea for the organization’s policy.

“First time kneeling, out for game,” Trump added in his tweet. “Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!”

The NFL recently tried to address its critics and provide a solution to the growing controversy, but ultimately fell short.

In May, the organization announced it would fine teams that did “not show appropriate respect for flag and anthem. Under the new policy, the NFL would leave further disciplinary measures against the offending players up to their teams.

Players would be obligated to stand during the anthem and refrain from making disrespectful gestures, while those who wished not to participate would be allowed to stay in the locker room.

Trump’s statement comes one day after the NFL and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) announced they would suspend and reevaluate the policy, after the NFLPA filed a grievance and players indicated that they would still continue their protests.

“No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing,” the statement said, according to The Associated Press.

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