Donald Trump releases 'Stand for the National Anthem' petition

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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. No one is disrespecting the flag, anthem and certainly not veterans by kneeling during the National Anthem.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has also recently issued a statement on the NFL protests: "Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem".

"The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem". Trump waded back into the anthem controversy with an early morning tweet after National Football League team owners and player representatives met in NY on Tuesday. Total lack of respect to our great country! We're going to continue to encourage them to stand.

The petition was launched on Thursday by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, and is the United States president's latest move to target the wave of protests that has seen NFL players "take a knee" while the national anthem is played before games. It is an important moment in our game.

Donald Trump refuses to take a knee when it comes to countering the wave of national anthem protests across the NFL.

It is precisely the great honor we accord the national anthem - and the American flag it celebrates - that gives such a contrary action as kneeling during the anthem its power as a signal of distress. Stop listening to a president who calls these black players "sons of bitches". "We hope and are going to try to get that to zero", Goodell said. Until people like Trump, who refused to condemn racists, white supremacists and KKK, begin a dialogue, protests will continue.

"They have stated to everyone publicly, they are not doing this in any way to be disrespectful to the flag", Goodell said, acknowledging that athletes are trying to use their platform to bring attention to "national issues" such as criminal-justice reform.