ESPN Announcer: Trump Has Hijacked National Anthem Issue

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This comes after Vice President Mike Pence left an NFL game earlier in the day after several players from the San Francisco 49ers made a decision to kneel during the national anthem.

Smith said National Football League stars drawing attention to racial injustice suffered by minorities were in no way "disrespecting our country or our flag" by refusing to stand for the anthem.

President Donald Trump continued his crusade against NFL players making demonstrations during the national anthem, this time suggesting tax laws should change to hurt the league.

The NFL gave up its federal tax-exempt status in 2015, according to media reports, although US states and localities still offer the multi-billion dollar league tax breaks in order to attract teams and to finance stadiums.

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Smith said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Management Council chair John Mara had assured union leaders last week players' rights to protest would be respected "without retribution". "If there's anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play", Jones said after the Cowboys' 35-31 defeat to the Green Bay Packers.

Players across the league have since taken up Kaepernick's protest, drawing ire from those who think they are disrespecting the American flag.

Fifteen players from the 49ers were seen kneeling during the anthem, protesting for racial inequality.

On Monday, cable sports network ESPN was drawn into the fray when it suspended one of its broadcasters after she posted a tweet about the protests and Jones' comment.

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In a separate Twitter post on Tuesday, Trump excoriated Hill, saying that with her "at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have 'tanked, ' in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!"

Smith thinks Trump's motives for blasting the National Football League protests are less than pure. "I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem".

But on Sunday, Jones emphatically announced that any players from his team who "disrespected" the national anthem by not standing would not play.

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