Donald Trump on NFL players who kneel during national anthem: ‘Maybe you shouldn’t be in this country’

He does not believe standing in the locker room should be an option.

Colin Kaepernick


In a Thursday morning Fox & Friends interview, Donald Trump expressed his support of the NFL’s ban on kneeling during the national anthem.

“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,” Trump said.

His words come one day after the NFL announced a new policy that requires all players on the field to stand during the national anthem. Players who do not wish to stand must remain in the locker room for the duration of the anthem. Any players or team personnel who remain on the field, but do not stand during the anthem will fined.

READ MORE: The NFL’s latest policy on player protests fumbled its chance to stand on the right side of history

Kneeling Protest History

Though Trump did not like that people had the option of staying in the locker room, he was generally in favor of the new policy. This comes as no surprise, considering that Trump weighed in on the issue repeatedly last year in speeches and in social media, at one point even calling the protesting players “sons of bitches.”

Former San Fransisco 49er Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem to protest rampant police brutality against Black people and to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Numerous players around the league followed suit with varying responses from team owners and coaches.

Fans also had mixed reactions, with some refusing to watch NFL games because of the seeming lack of support from league higher ups for the protests and other fans also refused to watch the NFL because they felt the protests were disrespectful and unpatriotic. The result was NFL ratings taking a hit overall.

READ MORE: Despite activism, NFL issues policy on kneeling during national anthem

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement about the policy.

“The efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed. The platform that we have created together is certainly unique in professional sports and quite likely in American business,” he wrote.  “We are honored to work with our players to drive progress. It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case.”