'It is about time': Trump says of NFL memo on anthem

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  • A letter to league owners yesterday said, 'Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem'
  • Goodell's memo appears to have stimulated a detente between the NFL and Trump after weeks of fighting over the flag and kneeling football players 
  • The White House argued Tuesday that NFL players shouldn't kneel during the National Anthem because so much taxpayer money finances their stadiums
  • The NFL uses 'money from American taxpayers to build the very fields they play on,' said President Trump's press secretary
  • Pronouncement came shortly after Goodell's memo began making the rounds 
  • Trump had tweeted Tuesday that teams should stop getting 'massive' tax breaks until all their players observe the Anthem properly 

By Francesca Chambers, White House Correspondent and David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor For Dailymail.com

Published: 08:53 EDT, 11 October 2017 | Updated: 09:14 EDT, 11 October 2017

President Donald Trump praised NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday morning for memo encouraging players to 'honor our flag and our country' during the national anthem.

'It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem-RESPECT OUR COUNTRY,' Trump tweeted.

Goodell's memo appears to have stimulated a detente between the NFL and Trump after weeks of fighting over the flag and football players who have been kneeling. 

The letter to league owners said, 'Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.'

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President Donald Trump praised NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday morning for memo encouraging players to 'honor our flag and our country' during the national anthem
President Donald Trump praised NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday morning for memo encouraging players to 'honor our flag and our country' during the national anthem
The letter to league owners said, 'Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem'
The letter to league owners said, 'Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem'

President Donald Trump praised NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday morning for memo encouraging players to 'honor our flag and our country' during the national anthem

Donald Trump and Roger Goodell are seen attending the NY Jets kickoff luncheon party at Cipriani Wall Street in 2008 in New York
Donald Trump and Roger Goodell are seen attending the NY Jets kickoff luncheon party at Cipriani Wall Street in 2008 in New York

Donald Trump and Roger Goodell are seen attending the NY Jets kickoff luncheon party at Cipriani Wall Street in 2008 in New York

Goodell's memo was distributed just as the White House was opening up a new front in Trump's war with the league on Tuesday. The president's spokeswoman said state and local tax subsidies that help finance stadiums should obligate teams to stand for the national anthem before games.

Trump had tweeted Tuesday morning that the government should 'change [the] tax law' because the league is 'getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country.'

In 2015 the NFL gave up its tax-exempt status, which was awarded in 1942 on the basis that it was a trade association, but it does still benefit from states and municipalities that issue tax-free bonds to pay for stadium construction.

'Billions of taxpayer dollars continue to subsidize the construction and renovation of professional sports stadiums,' White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday. 

'If this industry is going to use money from American taxpayers to build the very fields they play on, is it really too much to ask that they show respect for the American flag at the beginning of the game?'  

Goodell's memo was distributed just as the White House was opening up a new front in Trump 's war with the league on Tuesday. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday that state and local tax subsidies that finance stadiums should obligate NFL teams to stand for the National Anthem
Goodell's memo was distributed just as the White House was opening up a new front in Trump 's war with the league on Tuesday. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday that state and local tax subsidies that finance stadiums should obligate NFL teams to stand for the National Anthem

Goodell's memo was distributed just as the White House was opening up a new front in Trump 's war with the league on Tuesday. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday that state and local tax subsidies that finance stadiums should obligate NFL teams to stand for the National Anthem

President Trump re-ignited his fight with the league Tuesday morning, suggesting governments should end 'tax breaks' for teams
President Trump re-ignited his fight with the league Tuesday morning, suggesting governments should end 'tax breaks' for teams

President Trump re-ignited his fight with the league Tuesday morning, suggesting governments should end 'tax breaks' for teams

Trump, pictured Tuesday attending an event with the NHL champion Pittsburgh Penguins, started the NFL row a few weeks ago during a speech in Alabama
Trump, pictured Tuesday attending an event with the NHL champion Pittsburgh Penguins, started the NFL row a few weeks ago during a speech in Alabama

Trump, pictured Tuesday attending an event with the NHL champion Pittsburgh Penguins, started the NFL row a few weeks ago during a speech in Alabama

'The federal tax law doesn't apply here,' she clarified later. 'But certainly we know that they receive tax subsidies on a variety of different levels.'

According to the Brookings Institution, 13 NFL stadiums received public financing between 2000 and 2016. On average, each team reaped $360.2 million in tax-exempt bond funding – resulting in a total of $1.12 billion in lost tax revenue.

League advocates often argue that stadiums bring economic benefits to communities where they're built, including jobs and consumer capital. 

But the Initiative on Global Markets polled economists last year, and found 83 per cent agreement that '[p]roviding state and local subsidies to build stadiums for professional sports teams is likely to cost the relevant taxpayers more than any local economic benefits that are generated.'

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memo to teams on Tuesday, appearing to side with Trump over players who use the Anthem as a platform for take-a-knee protests
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memo to teams on Tuesday, appearing to side with Trump over players who use the Anthem as a platform for take-a-knee protests

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memo to teams on Tuesday, appearing to side with Trump over players who use the Anthem as a platform for take-a-knee protests

'Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem,' Goodell wrote to team owners and CEOs on Tuesday
'Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem,' Goodell wrote to team owners and CEOs on Tuesday

'Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem,' Goodell wrote to team owners and CEOs on Tuesday

Just before Huckabee Sanders began her briefing on Tuesday afternoon, the NFL's commissioner distributed a memorandum to team owners and chief executives, emphasizing that '[l]ike many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.'

'It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us,' Goodell wrote.

He also urged teams to 'move past' the controversy that has pit the president and most Americans against players who protest racial injustices by kneeling during The Star-Spangled Banner. 

Asked for a reaction to the letter in her news conference,  Huckabee Sanders said, 'I think we would certainly support the NFL coming out and asking players to stand, just as the president has done. 

'We support the national anthem, the flag, and the men and women who fought to defend it. And our position hasn’t changed on that front. We’re glad to see the NFL taking positive steps in that direction.'

The San Francisco 49ers pioneered the kneeling protests, which preceded a significant drop in NFL viewership on television
The San Francisco 49ers pioneered the kneeling protests, which preceded a significant drop in NFL viewership on television

The San Francisco 49ers pioneered the kneeling protests, which preceded a significant drop in NFL viewership on television

When Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia was built between 2001 and 2003, $214 million of the total $666 million cost came from public financing with tax-free bonds
When Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia was built between 2001 and 2003, $214 million of the total $666 million cost came from public financing with tax-free bonds

When Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia was built between 2001 and 2003, $214 million of the total $666 million cost came from public financing with tax-free bonds

Heinz Field, where the Pittsburgh Steelers play, cost $376 million to build back in 1999-2001, and tax-free bonds paid for $125 million of that sum
Heinz Field, where the Pittsburgh Steelers play, cost $376 million to build back in 1999-2001, and tax-free bonds paid for $125 million of that sum

Heinz Field, where the Pittsburgh Steelers play, cost $376 million to build back in 1999-2001, and tax-free bonds paid for $125 million of that sum

On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game after several players from the visiting San Francisco 49ers took a knee.

The move was criticized as a staged public-relations stunt, but Sanders said Tuesday that Pence had been invited long ago to 'present an award.'

Trump himself had confirmed on Twitter that he directed to Pence to leave before the game's kickoff if players from Colin Kaepernick's former team engaged in a protest during the anthem.

'I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country,' Trump tweeted Sunday.

Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday of the 'appropriateness' of Pence's counter protest, 'I think it’s always appropriate for the leaders of our country to stand up for the national anthem, to stand up for our flag, and to stand up for the men and women who fought and died for it.'

The NFL's field operations manual already has a stated policy on the National Anthem, saying players 'should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their hand, and refrain from talking' while it's played. 

Goodell's letter to league owners does not slap on an additional mandate. It instead warn of the threats to the sport and the league if the divisiveness continues, though.

The NFL's Field Operations Manual already includes a strict policy telling players what's expected of them during the playing of The Star Spangled Banner 
The NFL's Field Operations Manual already includes a strict policy telling players what's expected of them during the playing of The Star Spangled Banner 

The NFL's Field Operations Manual already includes a strict policy telling players what's expected of them during the playing of The Star Spangled Banner 

 

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Larry White
By Larry White 11/10/2017 09:14:00