‘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.
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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?’