Returning XFL to require players to stand for national anthem
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An upstart football league called the XFL will require players to stand for the national anthem during games when it returns in January 2020.

The sports venture, led and funded entirely by WWE founder and chairman Vince McMahon, will prevent the players from kneeling during "The Star-Spangled Banner" and stop them from making any kind of personal statement while the anthem is being played. 

McMahon announced Thursday that he will resurrect his football project that originally aired on NBC for only one season in 2001. 

"People don't want social and political issues coming into play when they are trying to be entertained," McMahon told ESPN in an interview. "We want someone who wants to take a knee to do their version of that on their personal time."

Kneeling protests against the anthem swept the NFL last year as players sought to bring attention to social justice issues. The protests prompted a fiery rebuke from President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer defense secretary Esper sues Pentagon in memoir dispute Biden celebrates start of Hanukkah Fauci says lies, threats are 'noise' MORE, who suggested that players who disrespect the anthem or flag should be fired.

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McMahon, who is married to Trump small business chief Linda McMahonLinda Marie McMahonTomorrow's special election in Texas is the Democrats' best House hope in 2021 April's dumbest and most dangerous coronavirus declarations Trump convenes sports commissioners in hopes of filling stadiums MORE, told ESPN that he had "no idea whether President Trump will support this."

The XFL will also bar anyone with a criminal record from playing in the league, marking a key distinction with the NFL.

"We are evaluating a player based on many things, including the quality of human being they are," the sports mogul said. "If you have any sort of criminal record or commit a crime you aren't playing in this league."

Trump has made a number of appearances in the WWE in the past, including hosting Wrestlemania IV and Wrestlemania V at Trump properties. He became a member of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.