ABC News(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump took to Twitter Wednesday morning to lash out at the National Football League’s decision not to force players to stand for the national anthem.
The president tweeted, “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!”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
Trump was reacting to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s announcement on Tuesday that the league would not ask players to commit to standing for the anthem, leaving the current policy unchanged.
“We did not ask for that,” Goodell said at the NFL’s fall meeting at the league’s headquarters in New York. “We spent today talking about the issues that players have been trying to bring attention to –- issues to make our communities better. I think we all agree there’s nothing more important than trying to give back to our communities and make them better. That was the entire focus of today.”
Former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement more than a year ago by refusing to stand while the national anthem played before games to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Since then, athletes across the country and even around the world have joined in the protest.
Kaepernick, now a free agent, recently filed a grievance against the NFL, alleging the league’s owners colluded to keep him out of the league because of his protest actions during the national anthem. The grievance alleges the owners “colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice.”
Kaepernick was not invited to attend the league’s quarterly meeting Tuesday, where the national anthem policy was discussed. But Kaepernick’s attorney, Mark Geragos, told ABC News “he absolutely should have been.”
“Certain elements of the executive branch have hijacked this and tried to make this an anti-military or an anti-flag [issue], and that’s not what it is. He’s said from day one that this is about giving rise to social injustice and focusing on social injustice,” Geragos said in an interview this morning with “Good Morning America” anchor Michael Strahan.
“Unfortunately, people want to change the paradigm so to speak or shift over the discussion to make this anti-American; it’s anything but,” Geragos continued. “It’s pro-American it’s trying to make America exactly what it’s supposed to be.”
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