Donald Trump blasts NFL for preseason national anthem protests: 'Stand proudly ... or be suspended!'

Several players, including Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, Giants defensive lineman A.J.
Francis, and Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills protested during the national anthem before playing preseason games on Thursday, August 9, 2018 (8/9/18).
President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Friday to blast NFL players protesting during the national anthem.
Watch video Here we go again.
The issue that won't go away came back in full force during Week 1 of the 2018 preseason: President Donald Trump vs.
NFL, with players protesting during the national anthem at the center of the ire.
On Thursday night, the preseason opened in earnest (last week's Hall of Fame Game between the Ravens and Bears was a stand-alone tilt), with much of the league playing the summer opener.
Players in Miami knelt.
Eagles leader Malcolm Jenkins raised a fist.
Giants' Olivier Vernon and Michael Thomas, after kneeling last season, stood on Thursday at MetLife Stadium.
Giants teammate A.J.
Francis raised a fist.
Dolphins' Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson both knelt during the anthem prior to a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On Friday morning, Trump reacted on Twitter.
The NFL players are at it again - taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem.
Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their "outrage" at something that most of them are unable to define.
They make a fortune doing what they love......
-- Donald J.
Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2018 .....Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest.
Most of that money goes to the players anyway.
Find another way to protest.
Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay! -- Donald J.
Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2018 Despite the NFL trying to enact change on when and how players can protest or choose not to participate, nothing concrete has truly been passed.
There's been a vague rule about staying in the locker room, but until discipline is brought down by a team on a player, it remains up in the air.
Per the league's new policy, all team and league personnel, including players, who are on the field for the pregame will be required to stand and "show respect" for the flag and the anthem under terms of the policy.
But it no longer is required that all players on the field for the anthem, meaning players who wish to protest can stay inside the locker room or off the field.
The protests typically are meant to bring awareness to social injustices and/or police brutality.
The NFL can fine teams -- not individuals -- whose personnel violate the policy, but the teams have the authority to develop their own set of rules within the framework of the NFL policy.
Chris Long supports Malcolm Jenkins Last month, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones defied the NFL, and said all of his players will be required to stand for the national anthem.
Players will not be permitted to stay in the locker room, according to "As far as the Dallas Cowboys, you know where I stand, the team knows where I stand," Jones said.
The Cowboys owner went on to add, "Our policy is you stand during the anthem, toe on the line." A day later, Stephen Jones, Jerry's son and the Cowboys' executive vice president, escalated the situation, saying players should be on the sidelines and stand "if they want to be a Dallas Cowboy," per ESPN: "We certainly are supportive of them when they have their personal issues or their personal things that they want to pursue," Jones said.
"And we'll help them pursue them on Tuesdays.
But when you're wearing the Dallas Cowboy uniform and a Dallas Cowboy helmet and you're working for the Dallas Cowboys, you check the 'I' and the 'me' at the door and you're a part of a team."  Thursday night, Jenkins and a few of his teammates attempted to put more of a focus on that issue, wearing t-shirts during pregame warmups at Lincoln Financial Field before the preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers calling attention to the problem of mass incarceration.
Jenkins wore a shirt that reads "More than 60 percent of prison populations are people of color."  Last season, Giants outside linebacker Olivier Vernon was among the players league-wide who took a knee during the anthem protesting against police brutality and advocating criminal justice reform.  "I'm not trying to get fined, so, no," Vernon said, when asked at Landon Collins' Charity Softball Game earlier this summer, if he plans to kneel this season."You never want to be told what to do really. Especially when it comes to your freedom of speech.
But, it is what it is.
We haven't really gotten too in depth into the rule."  (NJ Advance Media's Zack Rosenblatt and Matt Lombardo contributed to this report.) Joe Giglio may be reached at
Follow him on Twitter @JoeGiglioSports.
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