Depositions acquired through the grievance suit filed by former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick have revealed just how much President Donald Trump influenced the NFL’s new national anthem policy.
“This is a very winning, strong issue for me,” Trump reportedly told Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Just after the NFL announced the new policy, which will require all players on the field to stand for the national anthem (but will allow those wishing to protest to remain off the field until after the anthem plays), President Trump told Fox News host Brian Kilmeade that it was really about the American people. “I brought it out,” he said. “I think the people pushed it forward.” (RELATED: Trump: ‘We Always Proudly Stand’ For National Anthem)
The change in policy followed two seasons of protests, started by Kaepernick, and a marked drop in game attendance and television viewing. Kaepernick, who became a free agent at the end of the first season of protests, failed to find a new team — and has since alleged that the league blackballed him because of the protests. (RELATED: How Kaepernick Responded To NFL’s New Anthem Policy)
According to the depositions obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Trump gave Jones a message to pass on to the other team owners. He said, “Tell everybody, you can’t win this one. This one lifts me.”
A White House official explained that Trump’s call to Jones was intended to speak for what he felt was the will of the American people. He said, “The majority of the American people agree with the president, love our country, love our flag and believe it should be respected.”