Trump says he wants to meet with NFL players who protest during the national anthem to get recommendations for more pardons

  • President Donald Trump on Friday said he would like to meet with NFL players who protest during the national anthem to receive recommendations for people he should pardon.
  • Trump reiterated his stance that NFL players should all stand and be present for the national anthem.
  • It appeared to be the first time Trump has acknowledged that players are protesting social injustice, not the anthem or flag.


President Donald Trump on Friday said he wants to meet with NFL players who protest during the national anthem to get recommendations for further pardons.

Trump's comments appeared to be the first time he has acknowledged that players are protesting social injustice and police brutality rather than the anthem itself.

Trump said the protests, thus far, have been all "talk," but he wants players to recommend people he should pardon that have been treated unfairly by the justice system.

"What I'm going to do is, I'm going to say to them, instead of talk — it's all talk, talk, talk. We have a great country. You should stand for our national anthem. You shouldn't go in a locker room when our national anthem is played," Trump said.

"I'm going to ask all of those people to recommend to me, because that's what they're protesting, people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system. And I understand that. I'm going to ask them to recommend to me people that were unfairly treated — friends of theirs, or people that they know about — I'm going to take a look at those applications, and if I find, and my committee finds, that they're unfairly treated, we will pardon them, or at least let them out."

Trump's comments come in the midst of an attack on the NFL over players protests and a revised policy for the anthem. The league issued new rules this offseason that if players take the field for the national anthem, they must stand. However, if they don't want to, they can stay back in the locker room. Trump has been critical of the protests, as well as the NFL's new policy.

Trump's comments are also the latest in a string of pardons he's granted, from Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old grandmother, to Dinesh D'Souza, a conservative commentator and author.

Trump on Friday also said he was considering pardoning Muhammad Ali for refusing to be inducted into the draft for the Vietnam War. However, Ali was never convicted, thus making a pardon unnecessary.

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NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. presents a NASCAR helmet to U.S. President Donald Trump as the president welcomes Truex and his team to the White House in Washington, U.S., May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON, USA - APRIL 19: U.S. President Donald Trump (C) holds up a customized jersey presented to him by 2017 Super Bowl Champions the New England Patriots during their visit to the White House in Washington, United States on April 19, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01: U.S. President Donald Trump is presented with a jersey by team captain Ahmad Bradshaw (R) during an event with the Army Black Knights football team from the U.S. Military Academy May 1, 2018 in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC. President Trump hosted the 2017 Commander in Chief's Trophy champion to honor their victory. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with the Houston Astros, the 2017 World Series Champions, in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: President Donald Trump holds a Chicago Cubs jersey as he meets with members of the 2016 World Series Champions Chicago Cubs in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant holds a '45' sign. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - (L-R) With Penguins' coach Mike Sullivan, and co owners Ronald Burkle and Mario Lemieux behind, President Donald Trump honors the Stanley Cup Champions Pittsburgh Penguins in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC Tuesday October 10, 2017. The Stanley Cup Trophy is in the foreground. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: U.S. President Donald Trump hosts Team USA at the North Portico of the White House April 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump hosted the team to celebrate their victories in the 2018 Winter Olympics. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: U.S. President Donald Trump hosts Team USA at the North Portico of the White House April 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump hosted the team to celebrate their victories in the 2018 Winter Olympics. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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