The players have been protesting over perceived police brutality since 2016. Trump told confidants Wednesday that he was thrilled with the NFL's new policy, believing it vindicated his move last fall to call out the players who kneeled while suggesting that he planned to call attention to it again when the season starts in September, just months before the midterm elections, according to a person familiar with the president's conversations but not authorized to discuss them privately.
Donald Trump sided with the National Football League (NFL) on their new policy on players kneeling for the national anthem, saying that anyone who refuses to stand "shouldn't be in the country", Yahoo News is reporting.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP FILE
The NFL announced a new policy Wednesday requiring players to either stand for the pregame playing of national anthem, or to stay in the locker room while it's going on. Any violations of the new rules would result in fines against teams.
"This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem".
"The NFL owners did the right thing", he said. "I brought it out". Trump said in the Fox interview that he thought "the people" pushed for the new policy.More news: Pompeo: North Korea wants United States economic help
"I don't think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it's good."
"If somebody [on the Jets] takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organisation, by me, not the players". "I never want to put restrictions on the speech of our players". "Do I prefer that they stand?"
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long, who donated his base salary previous year to various educational charities, ripped the announcement on Twitter.More news: 'Sonic attack' on American consulate in China leaves staffer with brain inujury
The league also gave teams leeway in setting their own rules for national anthem protests.
The president also defended his decision to fire Comey last May, calling him a "rotten apple".
Both are Republicans, although it's unclear whether their objections to the kneeling are rooted in their "partisan political affiliation", given that Mr. Kaepernick hasn't framed his protest as anti-Republican and isn't known as a member of the Democratic Party or any other political party.More news: Ebola cases on rise, reach 14 in DRC