President Donald Trump, who has long been insistent that NFL players stand for the national anthem, said Friday that he wants to meet with players who have knelt during the anthem to protest social injustice because they’ve “seen a lot of abuse, they’ve seen a lot of unfairness” in their lives. He wants to hear from these players so they can recommend to him people deserving of pardons.
“I’m going to ask all of those people to recommend to me — because that’s what they’re protesting — people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system,” Trump told reporters. “And I understand that. I’m going to ask them to recommend to me people that were unfairly treated and I’m gonna take a look at those applications and if I find and my committee finds that they’ve been unfairly treated then we’ll pardon them. Or at least let them out.”
Trump’s comments come four days after the White House disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from a Super Bowl celebration. The ceremony, which had been scheduled for Tuesday, was abruptly called off in part because several players had said they wouldn’t attend.