Trump Tweets Disapproval Of NFL Before Openers

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U.S. President Donald Trump and the White House have spent much of the past year criticizing the NFL.

The NFL is not expected to implement a new policy on the national anthem this season, league sources told ESPN, no matter how many meetings and conversations occur regarding the topic.

Miami Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson today became the first players this season to protest during the national anthem by taking a knee, before the team's season opening game against the Tennessee Titans.

That follows a more low-key moment Thursday, before the Philadelphia Eagles squared off against the Baltimore Ravens in first game of the National Football League season, in which the Eagles' Michael Bennett sat down near the end of the anthem.

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Stills, Wilson and Quinn have all indicated they will continue to participate in protests throughout the season, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Trump has repeatedly slammed the protests as misdirected and unpatriotic, and has suggested that protesting players be fired. He noted Stills and Wilson "have not backed down, even when attacked and intimidated".

The lower numbers might reflect a new strategy many players are embracing to draw attention to the issues Colin Kaepernick raised when he began kneeling for the anthem in 2016. Last week, Nike introduced an ad featuring the quarterback and his message: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything".

"Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad past year comparison", Trump tweeted.

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The NFL briefly had a policy in place in May regarding the anthem, but rescinded it after the players union filed a grievance, which sent the league to the negotiating table with the union.

On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted a reference to US television ratings for Thursday's game, which started late due to bad weather.

During Thursday night's game, two players took seats toward the end of "The Star Spangled Banner", but there were no visible protests during the anthem.

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