In a presidential message, Trump said that Americans “owe” the “greatest respect” to members of the armed forces, adding that their defense of the “American way of life” helps make the Super Bowl possible.
“Their sacrifice is stitched into each star and every stripe of our Star-Spangled Banner,” Trump said. “We hold them in our hearts and thank them for our freedom as we proudly stand for the National Anthem.”
Trump has feuded with the NFL over the league allowing players to kneel during the national anthem. Trump repeatedly attacked the NFL last year, calling for owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who kneels during the anthem.
Conservatives said the kneeling protests were disrespectful to veterans, and many have boycotted the NFL.
Some players have kneeled in protest of police brutality and racial inequality. Others kneeled this season in solidarity for the right to protest.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said that players “should” stand for the anthem, but would not create a league rule requiring players to stand. He said last week that the league may revisit the issue in the off-season.