Trump launches national anthem petition in latest swipe at NFL

Trump launches national anthem petition in latest swipe at NFL
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE is urging supporters to sign a petition declaring that they believe in standing for the national anthem — his latest effort to put pressure on the NFL over players who kneel in protest during the anthem.

"The President has asked for a list of supporters who stand for the National Anthem. Add your name below to show your patriotism and support," says the petition by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a fundraising group. 

The petition was also promoted by the Republican National Committee on Twitter and its website. It does not say how many signatures it has garnered so far.

The petition came days after NFL team owners, executives and players met in New York, where they decided that the league would not implement a rule forcing players to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner." 

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said after the meeting that, while players are encouraged to stand for the anthem, there would be no formal rule making it mandatory for them to do so.

Goodell said he understood the concerns of the players — who are seeking to draw attention to racial injustice and police brutality — but he hopes the league can bring the total number of protesters down to zero. 

The decision came amid a prolonged feud between Trump and the NFL that began last month when he called on football teams to fire players who took a knee. The demonstrations began last year with former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been unable to find a new team after leaving the 49ers.

The president has called the protests disrespectful, and has urged supporters to walk out of games when players kneel during the anthem. Vice President Pence did so at an Indianapolis Colts game this month — a move that Trump said was at his urging.

After the NFL's decision not to implement a rule on the matter, Trump criticized the league once again in a pair of tweets, saying that the refusal was "too much talk, not enough action."

"The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem," he wrote. "Total disrespect for our great country!"