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Donald Trump Praises NFL's Anthem Policy, But Then Blasts It

The NFL announced a new policy regarding the National Anthem. The policy requires players on the field to stand when the 'Star-Spangled Banner' plays, however players may opt to stay in the locker room until the anthem is over. Trump heard about the policy and praised it at first, but then put it down for giving players the option of waiting it out in the locker room.

President Donald Trump stirred the controversy more than a year ago when he suggested that NFL teams should fire any player who refuses to stand during the anthem. The issue was already a hot-button topic from a season earlier, when San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick got national attention for 'taking a knee' during the anthem. When Trump threw his two cents into the argument, he split it wide open.

Players who previously did not take a knee began to do so in protest of Trump's criticism. Many argued players had a Constitutional right to peaceful protests.

On the other hand, those offended by the kneeling boycotted the NFL. The league had its worst year ever in terms of sales and viewership. This, as well as political pressure from Trump, who was not backing down, forced the league to institute a policy.

The policy was announced in May, and it said that any player found on the field must stand at attention for the National Anthem. If a player isn't standing respectfully, he can be fined by the league, and punished or fined by his own team.

Team members who do not wish to participate in the National Anthem are free to spend it in the locker room, according to the policy. They will not be punished or fined for skipping it altogether.

At first, when Trump heard this, he agreed with the policy. He told reporters 'that's good' at a press conference, and said, "NFL owners did the right thing."

At a rally in Great Falls, Montana, Trump seemed to change his tune. he called the policy a 'stupid thing'.

“Hey, how about the NFL. Look I don’t want to cause controversy. … I don’t want to cause controversy,” Trump said, the New York Post reports. “They passed this stupid thing. You don’t have to do this anymore if you don’t respect the flag or if you don’t like the country or whatever it is, just go into the locker room.”

“I think in many respects that’s worse. Isn’t that worse than not standing? You know? I think that’s worse. You know what? It doesn’t play. It doesn’t play. I actually think in many ways it’s worse," Trump added.

Trump went on to comment about how far down the league's ratings had fallen due to the NFL not acting on the anthem protests earlier. Part of this, he said, was due to people preferring to watch politics, which has become more brutal than football.

“But they’re [NFL ratings] also down because people find politics — in other words, hitting Trump, incorrectly, but hitting Trump — they find that to be much tougher, meaner, and more interesting than watching a football game,” said Trump.

Many believe that the president should be keeping out of the argument, and let the NFL settle it with their players and fans.

Source: AOL
Photos: DOD, Gage Skidmore/Flickr, JeepersMedia/Flickr

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