Trump on National Football League protesters: 'Maybe you shouldn't be in the country'

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The changes are the latest development in a polarizing debate that began with Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem in 2016.

Since last September, Trump - who probably has at least a few words of the national anthem committed to memory - has carved out time from his busy golf schedule to repeatedly weigh in on the protests by dozens of NFL players who have chosen to kneel, sit, or otherwise demonstrate against institutionalized racism and police brutality during the pre-game recitation of the national anthem.

"Well, I think that's good", Trump said of the policy shift during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" Thursday morning.

Trump: NFL players who don't stand during National Anthem maybe 'shouldn't be in the country'
Trump on NFL protesters: 'Maybe you shouldn't be in the country'

Trump praised the league for the new rule that would stop national anthem protests before they happen, saying NFL owners did the right thing.

Donald Trump has said athletes who don't stand for the USA national anthem should get out of the country.

This is what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement, "This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem".

Commentary: "Throw the ungrateful protesters out of the country" is a red-meat take that'll play well with some in the president's base, but it's one that doesn't even stand up to an elementary-school-level understanding of American freedoms. Individual teams can also decide if they want to fine players who protest. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem.

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the controversy in a statement after the new rule was announced that "on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of National Football League players were unpatriotic".

Bears coach Matt Nagy said after practice Wednesday that the team will discuss the issue as a group at some point in the future.

Donald Trump took time away from his busy schedule unearthing witch hunts and catching phantom spies to weigh in on another story he believe has national security implications. "I think [the new policy] is all about eliminating distractions for the team and for the audience".

The NFL Players Association, the athletes' union, said it was not consulted on the new policy and may issue a challenge should it violate the collective bargaining agreement.

The aforementioned decision restores respect to the national anthem. By instituting a policy yesterday to punish players who exercise their right of free expression by kneeling, the league is rejecting a basic American value. "NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about".