New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich does not want to get into a war of words — or tweets — over the festering issue of players standing for the national anthem.
Instead, Herzlich is extending an invitation for President Donald Trump to visit the Giants at training camp, telling the New York Daily News on Tuesday that he “would love Trump to come down” for a dialogue on the issue.
Trump is a supporter of the NFL’s new policy that forbids a player from kneeling during the national anthem. However, the President drew the ire of players last week for suggesting that if a player decides not to abide by the new policy, “maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
Herzlich, a member of the NFLPA executive committee, said it would be more productive for the President to meet with players rather than challenge his viewpoints via social media.
“I think the best way to handle remarks like that is it’s not necessarily a push back against his remarks. It’s to maintain the focus on the real issue,” Herzlich said. “The real issue isn’t players being against a president or against a country. It’s about players being for unity, and they want to create an atmosphere with law enforcement, with others in their community that we share in the locker room.
“You go in the locker room and guys from every single race, every single demographic, every single religious background, and we all are just a team. And so I think we see that, what’s possible. And I would love Trump to come down here and hang out in our locker room and see what locker room talk’s really about, and talking about our night nurses and our babies — this is what we talk about, it’s a family.”
Trump has been an outspoken critic of the NFL and its players on the anthem, since he created a firestorm at a rally in Alabama in September with comments termed “divisive” by Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“We’re proud of our country. We respect our flag,” Trump said at the campaign event. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He’s fired! He’s fired!'”