Ahead of NFL games, Trump again calls on players to stand during anthem

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President Donald Trump is calling on NFL players once again to stand during the national anthem.

He tweeted Saturday that players should stand on Sunday, saying they should respect the U.S. flag and country.

More than 200 players either knelt or used other means as expressions of unity last weekend. NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said such actions are not a protest against the anthem or the flag.

The players knelt last weekend in response to social injustice. Full teams, along with some team owners, linked arms either before or during the anthem. Three teams — Pittsburgh, Seattle and Tennessee — did not take the field until after the anthem.

Trump had earlier called on NFL owners to fire players who didn’t stand for the anthem.

Previously, Trump also said National Football League team owners are “afraid of their players.” Earlier this week, he called for action against those who kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.

Trump said he began criticizing the players because he has “so many friends that are owners.” He added: “I think they are afraid of their players, if you want to know the truth, and I think it’s disgraceful.”

The president spoke in an interview that aired Thursday on “Fox and Friends.” He says “most people agree” with him.

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart called the president’s statements “inaccurate.”

“I believe there was a statement our owners are afraid of our players and owners requested intervention by political leaders to kick this off,” Lockhart said. “Those statements are not accurate.”

Trump has spent days attacking players who kneel during the anthem. He insists the NFL should require players to stand. Responding to Trump, hundreds more players have been sitting, kneeling, locking arms or remaining in locker rooms.

“The owners are clearly united in a sense that the attacks on the game, on the NFL, on the players…

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