Donald Trump says NFL 'doing the right thing' with anthem policy

ByESPN.com news services
May 24, 2018, 1:56 PM

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump says the NFL is "doing the right thing" with a policy banning kneeling during the national anthem.

The NFL policy forbids players from sitting or taking a knee on the field during the anthem but allows them to stay in the locker room. Any violation of the new rule would result in fines against teams.

"I think that's good," Trump told "Fox & Friends" in an interview that was taped Wednesday and aired Thursday. "I don't think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it's good. 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 told "Fox & Friends" that he thought "the people" pushed for the new policy.

"This wasn't me," Trump said. "I brought it out. I think the people pushed it forward.

"... You know, that's something ideally could have been taken care of when it first started, it would have been a lot easier. But if [the NFL] did that, they did the right thing."

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted #winning with a screen shot of a story on the NFL's new policy after it was announced Wednesday. Attorney Mark Geragos, who is representing quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid in their collusion cases against the NFL, responded Thursday with a "winning" tweet of his own with a Cornell Law School link to case law stating that it is unlawful for government officials to influence a private entity's employment decisions.

Kaepernick and Reid allege in their lawsuits that they have remained unsigned as free agents because they knelt during the national anthem.?

In September, Trump criticized NFL players who lodged protests during the anthem, saying at a political rally in Huntsville, Alabama, that he wished those players would be released. Trump said the protests were "hurting the game."

In November, Trump bashed a plan, which had been reported by The Washington Post, that would keep NFL teams in the locker room during the national anthem, saying it is "almost as bad as kneeling."?

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events