New York Giants Vet Invites Trump to Locker Room to Discuss Anthem Kneeling, Player Concerns
A longtime New York Giants linebacker who is also a member of a key committee within the NFL players' union told reporters Tuesday that he would like President Donald Trump to visit the team for a dialogue on national anthem kneeling and other player concerns.
Mark Herzlich, who has been with the team since 2011, said a serious discussion on the issues and recent disagreements between Trump and some NFL players is key to putting an end to the controversy.
At a rally in Alabama in 2017, Trump called for the firing of any "son of a b***h" who takes a knee during the national anthem, and has maintained that such a move is unpatriotic.
"You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem. You shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there. Maybe they shouldn't be in the country...the NFL owners did the right thing" -President @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/bt36t4EX5u
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) May 24, 2018
"I think the best way to handle remarks like that is it's not necessarily a push back against his remarks," Herzlich said, according to the New York Daily News. "It's to maintain the focus on the real issue [which isn't] players being against a president or against the country."
Herzlich said that if Trump visited the Giants' East Rutherford, N.J. locker room, he will meet athletes of "every single demographic [and] every single religious background."
"[I] would love Trump to come down," the team's 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee said, the paper reported.
Herzlich said he wants the Giants to move on from protesting and instead direct their energies toward being active in the community while voicing their concerns.
"It's an opportunity for us to get out in the community and do something about it," he said.
Giants co-owner John Mara said standing in respect for the flag is "the right thing to do."
New head coach Pat Shurmur reportedly has not issued an explicit team policy on the matter after NFL owners voted to fine players who do not stand for the anthem or do not instead remain in the locker room.
In 2017, Giants outside linebacker Olivier Vernon and safety Landon Collins took a knee on one or more occasions during the anthem.