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Smith Says NFL's Right To Make Players Stand Is Indisputable
13 October 2017, 12:04 | Darnell Patrick
Vice President Mike Pence addresses a crowd during his Las Vegas visit
Last weekend, NHL player J.T. Brown of the Tampa Bay Lightning became the first ice-hockey player to join the protests, when he raised his fist during the national anthem before the regular season game with the Florida Panthers.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote to team owners on Tuesday, saying that: "Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem". A league spokesperson said that the potential rule would be discussed by the owners during a meeting scheduled for next week.
The letter was sent to all 32 professional teams.
President Trump has since doubled down on his stance, and on Tuesday, he tweeted asking why the National Football League is getting tax breaks while its players are "disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country?"
"We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues", the letter continued.
Writing that he expects a "full and open discussion" of the issues next week in New York, Goodell closes with, "The NFL is at its best when we ourselves are unified". "What we want to do is get back to focusing on the actions that we want to take to really improve our communities and support our players to get things done".
"It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem-RESPECT OUR COUNTRY", Trump posted on Twitter.
"I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country", tweeted Trump just an hour later. Pence later said that he "will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our national anthem". They need, as a collective body meaning the commissioner in consent with the owners, to address Donald Trump, the President of the United States, and some of his attacks on him. The protests started after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling to protest police mistreatment of African Americans.
In an interview on Fox News Channel's (FNC) Hannity airing Wednesday night, Trump said the National Football League could've avoided this issue by suspending Kaepernick.
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According to him, if any side fails to stand committed to the deal, it would be tarnishing its own reputation. The aide went on to accuse Washington of supporting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISISISIL) terrorists.