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  • Houston Texans’ Benardrick McKinney, Ben Heeney, Marcus Gilchrist and teammates kneel during the national anthem before kickoff against the Seattle Seahawks.

    Houston Texans’ Benardrick McKinney, Ben Heeney, Marcus Gilchrist and teammates kneel during the national anthem before kickoff against the Seattle Seahawks. | Photo: Reuters

The NFL policy could change during the offseason “if players are still kneeling at the end of the year,” according to officials.

U.S. President Donald Trump has tweeted against NFL officials for possibly having players and coaches stay in their locker rooms during the pre-game playing of the U.S. national anthem for the 2018 season.

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“The NFL is now thinking about a new idea — keeping teams in the Locker Room during the National Anthem next season. That’s almost as bad as kneeling! When will the highly paid Commissioner [Roger Goodell] finally get tough and smart? This issue is killing your league!”

His comments were in reference to a Washington Post story that revealed the policy could change during the NFL offseason “if players are still kneeling at the end of the year.” Since 2009 players have been required to be on the sidelines during the anthem, a practice the U.S. Department of Defense has paid the NFL millions of dollars to do since at least 2011, according to Snopes.

Dozens of NFL teams, and sometimes coaches and owners, have either knelt this season during the “Star Spangled Banner” or stayed off of the field while it played to protest racist violence and police murders of Black people in the United States and subsequent impunity for perpetrators.

Colin Kaepernick began the movement to kneel during the anthem in 2016 when he was the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers team. He opted out of his contract and became a free agent this year and was subsequently not picked up by any other team.

Trump also aimed his tweets at father and son, Lavar and LiAngelo Ball, taking personal credit for supposedly getting UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball out of jail, along with two other players, after being arrested for shoplifting in China.

The president was evidently upset he didn’t receive a personal thank you from Lavar, a former pro-basketball and football player.

“It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence — IT WAS ME. Too bad! ... remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!”


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