Trump: NFL players staying in locker room 'almost as bad as kneeling'

Trump: NFL players staying in locker room 'almost as bad as kneeling'
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE plunged back into his feud with the NFL on Wednesday, asserting that a proposal to keep players in the locker room during the national anthem would be "almost as bad as kneeling."

"The NFL is now thinking about a new idea — keeping teams in the Locker Room during the National Anthem next season," Trump wrote on Twitter. "That’s almost as bad as kneeling! When will the highly paid Commissioner finally get tough and smart? This issue is killing your league!"

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Trump's tweet came on the heels of a Washington Post report that some NFL owners are considering an off-season policy change that could keep players in the locker room while the national anthem is played in order to avoid fueling further controversy over on-field protests.

Trump ignited a feud with the league in September, after he called for coaches and team owners to fire players who took a knee during the national anthem, which he said was disrespectful to the country. 

The NFL made it league policy in 2009 for players and coaches to be on the sidelines while the national anthem is played, and it suggests that they stand for the song, though there is no requirement to do so.

The sideline protests by NFL players began last year with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began taking a knee during "The Star-Spangled Banner" to protest racial inequality and police brutality.

In addition to Trump's argument that kneeling during the anthem is disrespectful, he has claimed that it is responsible for the league's ailing ticket sales and viewership.

In fact, Trump has urged his supporters to boycott NFL games during which players kneel for the anthem.