President Donald Trump says the NFL "did the right thing" by implementing a new policy requiring players and league personnel on the sidelines to stand during the national anthem before games.
"I think that's good," Trump said about the policy during a Thursday appearance on Fox News. "I don't think people should be staying in locker rooms but still I think it's good, you have to stand proudly for the national anthem. Or you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there. Maybe you shouldn't be in the country. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem and the NFL owners did the right thing if that's what they've done."
Under the changes approved by team owners at the Spring League Meeting, players who don't want to stand during the anthem will be allowed to stay off the field. Individual clubs have the power to set their own policies to ensure the anthem is being respected during any on-field action. If a player chooses to protest on the field during the anthem, the NFL will fine the team. In addition, franchises have the ability to potentially fine players.
The on-field protests became a central issue for the NFL last September after Trump said he believed players should be fired for not standing during the anthem.
"The policy adopted today was approved in concert with the NFL's ongoing commitment to local communities and our country -- one that is extraordinary in its scope, resources, and alignment with our players," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement Wednesday. "We are dedicated to continuing our collaboration with players to advance the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of our society."
The six changes under the policy were unanimously approved by team owners who voted, Goodell said. San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York said he abstained from voting due, in part, to the lack of player involvement in the decision process.
"What NFL owners did today was thwart the players' constitutional rights to express themselves and use our platform to draw attention to social injustices like racial inequality in our country," Jenkins said in a statement. "Everyone loses when voices get stifled."