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Donald Trump to NFL players: 'Be happy, be cool,' and stand for national anthem

Trump's tweet comes after several players demonstrated during the national anthem at NFL preseason games Thursday.

BRIDGEWATER, New Jersey — President Donald Trump continued his ongoing criticism of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem with a series of tweets Friday morning.

Trump wrote on Twitter that NFL players "are at it again" after multiple players kneeled, raised a fist or remained in the locker room during the pregame playing of The Star-Spangled Banner on Thursday night. He urged them to "be happy, be cool," and stand during the anthem.

"A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest," Trump wrote in one tweet. "Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!"

Contrary to Trump's claim that players receive most of the league's revenue, the terms of the most recent collective bargaining agreement cap the players' share of revenue at 48.5 percent.

Trump has taken a deep and lasting interest in the conduct of NFL players since taking office. Over the past year, he has tweeted about the NFL or the importance of standing during the national anthem a total of 38 times.

In his most recent tweets, the president also claimed that NFL players are upset about "something that most of them are unable to define."

"The NFL players are at it again - taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem," he wrote. "Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their 'outrage' at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love......"

Players who have participated in the demonstrations have largely described them as a means of protesting racial inequality and police brutality, and several have been quite specific in their concerns and policy goals.

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, for example, has been among the most vocal and visible in the group, lobbying elected officials and pushing for criminal-justice reform. Before Thursday's game, he wore a shirt stating that people of color make up more than 60 percent of the United States' prison population, and he raised a fist during the national anthem.