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Trump lauds kneeling ban: Won't stand for national anthem? ‘Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country’
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Trump lauds kneeling ban: Won't stand for national anthem? ‘Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country’

President Donald Trump celebrated the NFL's decision to impose a ban on kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, suggesting that those who don't respect the flag or the anthem should perhaps not be in the country.

What's the background?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell revealed the new policy concerning kneeling during the national anthem on Wednesday.

Players are now not permitted to kneel during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" so long as they are on the field or the sidelines. They are, however, permitted to remain in the locker rooms during the anthem if they choose to do so.

A portion of Goodell's statement read, "This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem."

"Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room until after the anthem has been performed," the statement continued.

Goodell's statement added, "It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case."

Teams will be fined if players violate the new rule.

What were Trump's remarks?

Trump spoke with Fox News for an interview that aired on "Fox & Friends" Thursday. During the interview, the president lauded the NFL's new policy, which he called the "right thing" to do.

"You have to stand proudly for the national anthem and the NFL owners did the right thing, if that's what they've done," Trump said in response to the news of the new policy.

"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," the president added.

On the whole, Trump called the mandate "good," but balked at the idea of players remaining in locker rooms.

"I don't think people should be staying in locker rooms," he admitted. "But still I think [the policy] is good."

The president added that protests taking place during the national anthem were something that "could have been taken care of when it first started."

"That would have been a lot easier," he said.

When asked if he felt compelled to take any credit for pushing the new policy through, Trump deferred to the American public.

"I think the people pushed it forward," he responded. "This was not me. I brought it out. I think the people pushed this forward."

"This country is very smart," Trump added. "We have very smart people."

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