Trump: Football players should 'be proud of their country'

President Trump took aim at NFL players who kneel, rather than stand, during the national anthem in his weekly address on Friday, saying he hopes they will "respect our flag."

"Before watching a football game, you want to see those players be proud of their country. Respect our country. Respect our flag. And respect our national anthem and we think they will. We certainly hope they will," Trump said. 

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"When we honor the flag, we pay tribute to the men and women who have given everything for its defense.  We renew the bonds of love and loyalty we owe to our fellow citizens—to every American who looks to the Stars and Stripes and sees woven into its fabric their past, their future, and their place in our great American family," he continued. 

He also briefly provided the history of the United States Flag Code, passed in 1942, which created "official standards for how we treat our beloved flag," he said.

"So this month, as we remember the patriots who fought to win our glorious Independence, let us renew our commitment to love our country, protect our citizens, and ensure that this will ALWAYS BE the land of the free and the home of the brave," he said. 

The president's message comes as he continues to target the NFL over players kneeling during the anthem as a method of protesting social and racial injustice. 

Trump ignited the firestorm last month at a campaign event in Alabama, when he said that players who kneeled should be fired. 

Members of the NFL community responded in a show of defiance against Trump's remarks, kneeling or locking arms during the anthem in subsequent games. 

Vice President Pence on Sunday then briefly attended an Indianapolis Colts game where it was widely expected that members of the San Francisco 49ers would kneel during the anthem, and left shortly after the anthem, costing taxpayers a reported $200,000. 

"I left today's Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem," Pence said in a statement.