"His suggestion that he might bring National Football League players into the pardon process must be viewed as nothing less than a cynical, self-serving ploy to create a photo op with National Football League players, many of whom have made it clear that they would not be caught standing downwind from him, much less next to him", said Harry Edwards, a sociologist and longtime civil rights activist at the University of California at Berkeley.
Fox News fanned the flames by showing pictures of Eagles players kneeling in prayer - pictures that weren't taken during the performance of the national anthem - prompting player backlash and an official apology.
Trump has been deeply involved with the issue, slating many players who kneel. You shouldn't go in a locker room when our national anthem is playing.
President Donald Trump addressed reporters Friday morning to speak about several issues.
This was a somewhat unexpected development in the anthem debate following the drama of the Philadelphia Eagles being disinvted to the White House last week, which came on the heels of a new NFL-mandated anthem policy that appeared to anger the majority of the players. He also invited players to make known people they think have been treated unfairly and promised to look into those cases.
President Donald Trump has always been at odds with NFL players over protests during the national anthem, but on Friday expressed the desire to listen.
It will be interesting to see how the players react to Trump's proposal. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem. Or at least let them out'.
"What I'm thinking to do, you have a lot of people in the NFL in particular ... they're not proud enough to stand for our national anthem".
"I'm going to ask them to recommend to me people who were unfairly treated", Trump said.
Republicans, however, said by a margin of 81 percent to 16 percent that players did not have the right to protest. If they fail in private arbitration, the players will ask a federal judge to intervene, said the person, who declined to be identified because the information is confidential. Under the rule, the league can fine teams whose players kneel during the "Star-Spangled Banner".
He revealed he is considering pardoning the late Muhammad Ali, a human rights activist and heavyweight boxing champion who was convicted in 1967 for refusing to enter the military during the Vietnam War, a conviction that the Supreme Court overturned in 1971. The president also didn't address systemic and racial oppression, another huge part of the players' protests.