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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

NFL execs considered Donald Trump when making new anthem policy

Donald Trump

Donald Trump was largely responsible for national anthem protests becoming more prominent across the NFL last season, so naturally the president’s name came up as part of the discussion when league owners and executives were formulating their new anthem policy.

Albert Breer of The MMQB gathered from execs that Trump factored into the anthem talks at league meetings this week.

“Oh yeah,” Packers president Mark Murphy told Breer with a laugh. “It was more how [Trump] might react, anticipating that. Also, how the fans will react, how the media will react. That’s what we tried to think through. … No matter what we did, [Trump] would probably try to get involved one way or the other—either criticizing us or taking credit for the change.”

One team owner told Breer that Trump’s name came up a few times but never for an extended discussion, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones explained Trump’s involvement in a similar way.

“[Trump] certainly initiated some of the thinking, and was a part of the entire picture,” Jones said. “But all of that was given consideration.”

For what it’s worth, Trump said Thursday that NFL owners “did the right thing,” though he said he doesn’t believe staying in the locker room during the anthem should be an option.

Trump’s controversial remarks at the start of last season made anthem protests and even bigger deal than they already were, and his good friend Robert Kraft has even criticized the president for being so divisive. No matter how you look at it, what Trump says and does has an influence on the overall discussion. It’s no surprise his name came up during meetings.

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