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Online petition started by fundraising group urges standing for National Anthem

Online petition started by fundraising group urges standing for National Anthem

From the moment back in August previous year that Colin Kaepernick knelt, he took pains to describe it as a respectful but pointed protest against police killings of African-American men, and the lack of accountability thereof. The meeting between owners and players ended with no agreement on the thorny issue of protests during "The Star-Spangled Banner", which has bitterly divided the sport and fans of the game.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said this week that "everyone should stand for the national anthem" but will not change the League's policy to require players to stand, as the NBA does.

Goodell reiterated that the league and its 32 clubs "believe everyone should stand for the national anthem". The Trump campaign team earlier this month offered supporters an "I STAND FOR THE FLAG" sticker in exchange for contributions of at least $5 to the committee, and Trump himself has frequently tweeted on the subject.

The petition was launched on Thursday by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, and is the USA president's latest move to target the wave of protests that has seen NFL players "take a knee" while the national anthem is played before games. Total lack of respect to our great country!

The statement continued: "As we said last week, everyone who is part of our National Football League community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem and our military. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us". We're going to continue to encourage them to stand. The NFL stopped short of meeting Trump's desire that players be forced to stop protesting. "We did not ask for that", he said, as quoted by CBS News.

"They have stated to everyone publicly, they are not doing this in any way to be disrespectful to the flag", Goodell said, acknowledging that athletes are trying to use their platform to bring attention to "national issues" such as criminal-justice reform.