Trump launches petition to stand for national anthem

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"We believe our players should stand for the national anthem", Goodell said (via NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano).

The president has been a prominent voice in the controversy over National Football League players refusing to stand for the anthem to protest racial injustice in America.

Dissatisfied with the NFL's announcement that it won't require players to stand, President Donald Trump launched the "Stand for the National Anthem" petition on Thursday. "Add your name below to show your patriotism and support", says the petition by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a fundraising group.

Earlier this week NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with about half of the NFL owners.

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The Trump campaign released a petition encouraging everyone to stand for the national anthem. "NFL executives and owners joined NFLPA executives and player leaders to review and discuss plans to utilize our platform to promote equality and effectuate positive change", the statement said.

The N.F.L. for now will continue to let players kneel or sit during the national anthem without a penalty, capitulating to demands by the athletes for free expression but potentially further alienating fans who object to the protests and feel they are disrespectful to the flag and the military. The demonstrations began previous year with former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been unable to find a new team after leaving the 49ers. Polls have found that a majority of Americans disapprove of the anthem protests but are unhappy with the way Trump has handled the issue. "What we're trying to do is deal with the underlying issue and understand what it is they're protesting".

Trump's remarks sparked a furious backlash amongst NFL players, team owners and league officials, with large-scale protests by players during the anthem in the weekend following the president's tirade.

Three Lions players kneel during the national anthem.

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