President Donald Trump was not happy about the first day of NFL owners' meetings in New York.
Early Wednesday morning, Trump 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
On Tuesday, 11 NFL team owners met with several players, commissioner Roger Goodell and other officials from the league and players union to discuss how the NFL could show support for players who want to confront social issues. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the protest movement during the national anthem last season in an attempt to bring attention to racial inequality and police brutality.
While Goodell on Tuesday didn't demand that players stand for the anthem, he had said in a memo last week that he would prefer all players stand during The Star-Spangled Banner. However, the owners will meet again Wednesday, and there will be more discussion of the anthem issue.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins was one of the players taking part in Tuesday's meeting, and he said the protest issue did not dominate the discussion.
"I'm not sure we're close to a resolution, but conversations are ongoing," he said. "It went from just phone calls to obviously, this is the first time meeting, so I don't think we can come up with a whole plan and solutions in two hours. But we're happy that these things are happening, and we look forward to the opportunity to be able to put a good plan together."
Goodell said the focus of the meeting was about strengthening communities, and he unveiled a plan to address social issues, although specific details were not disclosed.
"We spent (Tuesday) talking about the issues that players have been trying to bring attention to — issues to make our communities better," Goodell said. "I think we all agree that there's nothing more important than trying to give back to our communities and make them better."
There have been widespread protests throughout the NFL since late September, when Trump said at a political rally in Alabama: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired!”
NFL players have responded to his comments with various gestures during the anthem -- sitting, kneeling, or locking arms.
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