In a post on Twitter, Trump issued the following statement Friday morning: "The NFL players are at it again - taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem. Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their 'outrage' at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love......
".....Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!"
On Thursday, a handful of players across the league resumed their silent protests against social inequality with demonstrations during the anthem.
Miami Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson both kneeled during "The Star-Spangled Banner," while Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn and Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs Malcolm Jenkins and De'Vante Bausby stood and raised their firsts.
Jenkins, who stopped raising his fist midway through the 2017 season, told reporters after the Eagles' 31-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers that he resumed his protest because of how the league handled the implementation and subsequent freeze on the new anthem policy.
"All that's transpired over the [off]season has just changed the context of where we are right now," he said, per ESPN.com's Tim McManus. "I was very, very encouraged at the end of last year with the direction that I thought the players were going with the league. And that obviously took a different turn. And so I just think as we wait for the league to make its decision on what they're going to do from a ruling standpoint, I think it's important that we utilize the platform as we can."
Elsewhere, Jacksonville Jaguars players—including linebacker Telvin Smith, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon—stayed in the locker room during the anthem prior to Thursday's game against the New Orleans Saints.
"I've got certain beliefs, but this is not going to become a distraction in Jacksonville," Smith explained, per First Coast News' Mike Kaye. "This is not going to become a distraction for this team. I've got beliefs. I did what I did. I don't know if it's going to be every week, can't answer if it's going to be every week, but, as a man, I've got to stand for something. I love my team, I'm dedicated to my teammates and that's what we're talking about. I did what I did, it was love."