NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell conducted a press conference Wednesday explaining the NFL’s decision not to mandate players stand for the national anthem, and Trump has already lambasted the league’s decision on Twitter.
The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem. Total disrespect for our great country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
Controversial Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore came out in condemnation of players kneeling for the national anthem on Wednesday, as well.
“It’s against the law, you know that?” Moore told Time, referring to a section under US Code Title 36. “It was an act of Congress that every man stand and put their hand over their heart. That’s the law.”
The code, however, only suggests etiquette during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and does not prescribe legal penalties for those who flout the relevant provisions.
Moore’s comments follow a string of athlete demonstrations during the anthem over racial and social injustice, many of which were triggered by President Trump calling NFL players who refuse to stand or link arms “sons of bitches” at a campaign rally for Moore in September.
In his highly anticipated press conference, Goodell maintained that no changes would be made to the league’s written rule manual. He noted that a meeting at the league office with 12 players Tuesday night didn’t address discussions of punishment for kneeling but covered what the league can do, as whole, for the relationship between the black community and law enforcement.
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