Trump NFL row: Team owners afraid of players, says US president

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Why America's sports stars are taking a knee

US President Donald Trump says NFL owners are "afraid of their players", in another criticism of those who have protested during the national anthem.

Trump first said on Friday at a rally in Alabama that players who fail to stand during the national anthem should be sacked or suspended.

In widespread protests at the weekend, players responded by kneeling, linking arms or staying in the locker room.

"I have so many friends that are owners," Trump told Fox News.

"I've spoken to a couple of them. They say we are in a situation where we have to do something. I think they're afraid of their players, you want to know the truth. And I think it's disgraceful."

Seven NFL owners donated to Trump's inauguration, but four have either joined the protests or criticised him.

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan locked arms with his players - an unusual scene, as owners rarely join players on the pitch.

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder also linked arms with cornerbacks as the national anthem played before a game on Sunday.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a personal friend of Mr Trump, said he was "deeply disappointed" by his "tone".

And on Monday, the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones joined players and staff in taking a knee before the US national anthem at the game against the Arizona Cardinals.

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