Former NFL player Donté Stallworth labels rule against anthem kneeling ‘compulsory patriotism’
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Former NFL player Donté Stallworth said the NFL’s new national anthem policy amounts to “compulsory patriotism.”

Stallworth, who previously played for the New Orleans Saints and several other NFL teams, criticized a new policy that would allow the NFL to "impose appropriate discipline" on players who do not stand for the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

"These players that are peacefully protesting, Brian, what they're essentially doing is practicing dissent,” Stallworth told host Brian Stelter on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

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“And we know that dissent is not supposed to make you feel comfortable. Protests are not supposed to make you feel comfortable," he continued.

The NFL last week unveiled the new policy, which says players and team personnel who do not want to stand during the anthem before games can stay in the locker room. 

The decision came after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE last year ignited controversy when he said the league should fire players who choose to kneel, rather than stand, during the anthem's performance at games.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He is fired,' " Trump said at a September political rally.

The president has maintained his stance on the players in subsequent tweets and remarks since his original recommendation.

The comments from Trump sparked widespread protests during last season’s games by NFL players who chose to kneel for the anthem.