President Trump Asks Supporters to Sign 'Stand for the National Anthem' Petition

Lydia Fleming
October 23, 2017

A small number of NFL players had been taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality since former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the protest in 2016.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has also recently issued a statement on the NFL protests: "Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem". Trump has expanded his target to include National Football League owners who do not mandate their players stand. Trump, Vice President Pence, the RNC, and many conservatives have wrongly claimed the protests are meant to dishonor America, America's military, the American people, or the American flag.

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In a brief press conference on Tuesday night at the NFL's headquarters, Goodell was asked whether players were told to stand during the anthem. Total lack of respect to our great country! But a post from the president's private Twitter account early Wednesday morning indicated otherwise. "What we try to do is deal with the underlying issue and understand what it is that they're protesting and try to address that matter".

"It is important for us to honor our flag and our country, and this is what the supporters expect from us", he recalled, noting that the players who protest in this way " don't do it to disrespect the flag ". I think we also have to keep focus on this - we have about six or seven players that are involved with this protest at this point.

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Trump has harshly criticized players who refuse to stand for the anthem, previously stating at a rally in late September owners need to "get that son of a bitch off the field". The rules of the league says that players "should" stand up during the Star-Spangled Banner, but does not make this mandatory.

"They have stated to everyone publicly, they are not doing this in any way to be disrespectful to the flag", Goodell said, acknowledging that athletes are trying to use their platform to bring attention to "national issues" such as criminal-justice reform.

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