Trump: NFL’s refusal to impose national anthem rules shows league has 'total disrespect' for country

President Trump slammed the NFL early Wednesday for its decision to “not force” players to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner."

“The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem. Total disrespect for our great country!” Trump tweeted.

The president’s tweets come the day after the NFL commissioner and owners convened for their annual fall meeting in New York City.

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, the NFL and the NFLPA said that owners and players had “a productive meeting” to focus on how to “work together” and “promote positive social change and address inequality in our communities.”

The NFL reviewed and discussed “plans to utilize” their platform “to promote equality and effectuate positive change,” but seemingly did not make it a league-wide rule to require players to stand for the national anthem, despite the president’s wishes.

“Everyone who is part of our NFL community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem and our military,” the statement read. “In the best American tradition, we are coming together to find common ground and commit to the hard work required for positive change.”

The NFL’s statement comes one week after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to NFL executives and club presidents, aiming to move past the weeks-long feud between the White House and NFL players who have kneeled or otherwise protested during the national anthem at the start of NFL games.

“The current dispute over the national anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country,” Goodell wrote last week. “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”

The president interpreted Goodell’s words as a directive to demand players to stand.

“It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem -- RESPECT OUR COUNTRY,” Trump tweeted last week.

Trump was clearly disappointed in the outcome of the NFL’s meeting on Tuesday. The president also slammed Hillary Clinton this week for her take on the NFL players’ protest, noting that it was a “reverent” position and not that it was against “our national anthem or our flag.”

Trump suggested that such thinking is the “reason she lost the election.”


The weeks-long feud began dominating the headlines last month at a rally in Alabama, when Trump called for players to be fired if they disrespected the flag, spurring the controversy.

“The NFL should have suspended some of these players for one game  -- not fire them -- suspend them for one game. And then, if they did it again, it could have been two games, then three games, then for the season,” Trump suggested on Monday. “You wouldn’t have people disrespecting our country right now.”