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Trump Says Protesting NFL Players Should 'Be Cool!'

Giants Vernon, Michael Thomas Stand In Preseason Opener

August 10, 2018 - 3:09 pm
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By The Associated Press and WFAN.com

President Donald Trump is once again lashing out at football players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.

Trump claimed on Twitter Friday that "most of them are unable to define" what they're demonstrating against.

Instead, Trump tweets players should "Be happy, be cool!"

Numerous player demonstrations took place during the national anthem at several early NFL preseason games Thursday night. Players have been protesting police killings of black men, social injustice and racism.

Trump wrote from his New Jersey golf resort that players "make a fortune doing what they love" and that those who refuse to stand "proudly" for the anthem should be suspended without pay.

Trump has told associates he believes the anthem issue is a winning one that riles up his base.

In the Giants' preseason opener Thursday, Oliver Vernon and Michael Thomas, two players who had formerly kneeled for the anthem, did not protest. 

Vernon and Thomas, who played for the Miami Dolphins last season, remained standing with their teammates during the "Star-Spangled Banner" at MetLife Stadium. 

"Right now we're waiting to see how everything goes with the league, and we've just been engaging in talks and seeing what everybody is talking about and seeing where everything is going to lead to," Vernon said regarding his decision to stand. "For right now, it's just a foot right now."

Though Vernon and Thomas stood for the anthem, a number of players around the league continued to kneel or abstain from being on the field during the anthem.

Vernon noted that the team has had conversation regarding the controversy of the anthem, though the extent of these discussions are unclear. 

"First and foremost, it's basically everybody just engaging and talking about what is going on," Vernon said. "But right now it's really just focusing on football. That's it."

The NFL had adopted a new policy this past offseason that would have forbade players from sitting or taking a knee if they are on the field or sidelines during "The Star-Spangled Banner," but allowed them to stay in the locker room if they wish. . However, the league and its players' union later agreed to freeze the policy while working on a resolution to the issue.

(© Copyright 2018 Entercom Communications. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)