President Trump has railed against NFL players who took a knee during the playing of the national anthem as unpatriotic over the last two years while ignoring the stated reasons for the protests but that changed a bit on Friday.
Those reasons center on inequality in the treatment of minorities by law enforcement in the United States and the President said during a press gathering ahead of his trip to the G-7 meeting that players have “seen a lot of abuse, they’ve seen a lot of unfairness” during their lives. He also invited players to make known people they think have been treated unfairly and promised to look into those cases.
“I’m 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. I’m going to ask them to recommend to me people that were unfairly treated and I’m gonna take a look at those applications and if I find and my committee finds that they’ve been unfairly treated than we’ll pardon them. Or at least let them out.”
There’s no way to pardon or let out people who are dead after run-ins with law enforcement, of course. Those deaths and the response to those deaths by law enforcement agencies and the justice system are a major part of what spurred the protests in the first place and were not addressed by the President on Friday.