It did not take long for President Donald Trump to comment on the NFL's new national anthem policy.
During his Thursday interview on 'Fox & Friends', Trump applauded the changes made by the league and took another jab at those who choose to protest.
"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. "The NFL owners did the right thing."
Statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pic.twitter.com/1Vn7orTo1R— NFL (@NFL) May 23, 2018
The league announced on Wednesday it will allow players to remain in the locker room while the anthem plays. However, teams will be fined if players and other personnel on the field "do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem."
The NFL Players Association responded shortly after, saying its members were not consulted about the adjustments. It added the union would review the new policy and "challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement."
The changes sent a ripple through the sports world, triggering both support and opposition. New York Jets co-owner Christopher Johnson made his stance clear when he said he will pay any fines his players might be subjected to.
"I do not like imposing any club-specific rules. If somebody [on the Jets] takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organization, by me, not the players," Johnson said. "I never want to put restrictions on the speech of our players. Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But I understand if they felt the need to protest.
"There are some big, complicated issues that we're all struggling with, and our players are on the front lines. I don't want to come down on them like a ton of bricks, and I won't."
The NFL is facing labor grievances from Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, both of whom claim they have been blacklisted due to their decisions to kneel during the anthem.