NFL Players Who Don't Stand For Anthem 'Shouldn't Be In The Country'

Jacquelyn Martin  AP FILE

Jacquelyn Martin AP FILE

"You should stand proudly for the national anthem - or you shouldn't be playing", Trump said in an interview with FOX & Friends on Thursday morning.

Donald Trump was largely responsible for national anthem protests becoming more prominent across the NFL last season, so naturally the president's name came up as part of the discussion when league owners and executives were formulating their new anthem policy. "You shouldn't be there". "Or you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there, maybe you shouldn't be in the country", Trump said.

"That's a total disrespect of our heritage".

Goodell will impose "appropriate discipline" for those on the field who do not stand for the national anthem.

"I don't think people should be staying in locker rooms. But still, I think it's good", Trump beamed in the interview, taped previous afternoon while Trump attended an anti-immigration event in NY. Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room until after the anthem has been performed.

"If the team gets fined, that's just something I'll have to bear".

Marcio Jose Sanchez  AP FILE
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP FILE

In an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle on the Bob Groz and Tom show, receiver Doug Baldwin said he was not surprised but that "I'm disappointed" in the ruling saying "the National Football League cares about one thing, and that's the National Football League, that's the NFL's bottom line". "Do I prefer that they stand?" It's also fear of a president turning his base against a corporation.

His consistent disapproval of the league's professional athletes, and even of the owners for not condemning their players, put him at the epicenter of the controversy. "This is not patriotism".

Trump's reaction was the president's first since NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday the league would fine teams and league personnel who do not "stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem".

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.

Media captionWatch: The history of anthem protests in the US.

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