It looks as if the controversy surrounding NFL players refusing to stand for the national anthem has come to an end. On May 23, 2018, the NFL implemented a new policy that requires players to stand for the anthem at games. And Vice President Mike Pence and Donald Trump weren’t shy with their reactions to the news. Keep reading to find out what he tweeted — and why — and make sure you click to page 5 to find out how Donald Trump reacted to Pence’s statement.
1. Pence makes a political statement
In the fall of 2017, President Trump started a firestorm of controversy when he said the NFL should fire any players who kneeled during the national anthem instead of standing, according to The Hill. In October, Mike Pence left an Indianapolis Colts game when the San Francisco 49ers took a knee for the anthem.
“While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem,” Pence tweeted at the time.
Next: Trump told Pence what to do
2. Trump told Pence to leave the game if players didn’t stand for the anthem
After Pence left the Indianapolis Colts game, Trump tweeted that he had told Pence to leave if players took a knee during the anthem. The backstory: Players started to kneel for the anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in 2016. Colin Kaepernick, who served as the San Francisco 49ers quarterback at the time, started the movement, according to The Hill.
Next: New rules
3. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has spoken
The NFL has now made it mandatory for all team and league personnel to stand for the national anthem, according to The Hill. However, this rule was designed simply to keep protests off the field. The NFL said players may now remain in the locker room during performances of the national anthem — without being punished.
Next: Pence takes to Twitter again
4. Here’s what Mike Pence tweeted about the decision
Mike Pence tweeted “#Winning,” after the league’s 32 team owners voted unanimously for the new policy, which also says that players who protest the anthem on the field will be fined.
“Today’s decision by the @NFL is a win for the fans, a win for @POTUS, and a win for America,” Pence wrote in another tweet. “Americans can once again come together around what unites us – our flag, our military, and our National Anthem. Thank you NFL.”
Next: President Trump reacts
5. This is what president Trump said
President Trump is very pleased about the new policy, according to CNN. Here’s what he said: “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.
And, although Trump made no secret of his feelings about the subject, he didn’t take credit for the NFL’s decision. “I think the people pushed it forward. This was not me. I brought it out. I think the people pushed this forward,” said Trump. “This country is very smart. We have very smart people.”
Next: The NFL Players Association reacts
6. The NFL Players Association isn’t happy
The NFLPA criticized the league regarding the new policy, according to The Hill. The union made a statement, saying it would review the policy and “challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.” The NFLPA contend that the league is contradicting previous statements it has made and ignoring players’ wishes in implementing the new policy.
Next: The players react
7. Some NFL players are very unhappy about the new policy
According to The Washington Post, a lot of NFL players aren’t thrilled with the new policy. The Eagles’ Chris Long, for example, tweeted, “This is not patriotism.” And his teammate, Malcolm Jenkins, agrees. ““What NFL owners did today was thwart the players’ constitutional rights to express themselves and use our platform to draw attention to social injustices like racial inequality in our country,” tweeted Jenkins.
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