Washington, DC – President Donald Trump has invited National Football League (NFL) players to submit the names of people who they felt have been unfairly treated by the U.S. justice system.
The President said he planned to consider the football players’ submissions, and that if the cases they recommended had been unjustly handled, he would consider issuing pardons or freeing them from prison.
"You have a lot of people in the NFL in particular, but in sports leagues, they're not proud enough to stand for our National Anthem. I don't like that," President Trump told CNN on Friday.
“What I'm going to do is, I'm going to say to them instead of talk ... I am going to ask all of those people to recommend to me – because that's what they're protesting – people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system. And I understand that. If the athletes have friends of theirs or people they know about that have been unfairly treated by the system, let me know,” the President said.
President Trump has feuded in a very public manner with professional athletes over their lack of respect for the National Anthem, and has said that NFL players who have kneeled during the national anthem should be fired.
He recently retracted an invitation to the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles, and said that neither the Golden State Warriors nor the Cleveland Cavaliers would be invited to the White House after the NBA Finals have been completed, according to USA Today.
The invitation to participate in the pardoning process has been characterized by some as an olive branch from President Trump, and came on the heels of a pardon issued at the request of another celebrity figure.
The President met with Kim Kardashian on May 30th and heard her advocate for a pardon for 63-year-old Alice Johnson who was servicing a life sentence without possibility of parole, Fox News reported.
President Trump pardoned Johnson, who had been the leader of a multi-million dollar cocaine operation in Memphis, later the same day he met with the reality star at the White House.
Johnson had already served 21 years in prison.