President Donald Trump stands with NFL owner Robert Kraft and HC Bill Belichick
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL pushed back for years against players kneeling during the national anthem. Now with the league seemingly ready to support its players protesting, the NFL could turn its focus to pushing back against President Donald Trump.

NFL to stand with players against Donald Trump?

President Donald Trump has frequently blasted NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to raise awareness for police brutality and systemic inequalities in the United States. He even called on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to make standing mandatory and the league adopted a policy in 2018.

Following the death of George Floyd and protests for police reform across the world, Goodell came out and offered support for the Black Lives Matter movement and admitted the league handled the national anthem wrong.

A few weeks after Goodell supported the players’ right to kneel during the national anthem, President Trump vowed on Friday to boycott the NFL if players don’t stand for the anthem. Then, during a rally in Tulsa, Trump went after the NFL once again.

This time, though, don’t expect the NFL to back down from Trump’s public criticism. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer said he expects the league to firmly support its players through any backlash from President Trump.

It’s a stark difference from years past when the NFL drew criticism for caving to Trump’s criticism. With the NFL and its players pushing back against Trump’s blasts, things will be very different in 2020.