Trump praises Cowboys owner on NFL protests

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is praising Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for his stance against players protesting during the national anthem.

Trump is on Twitter offering a "big salute" to Jones, who Trump says "will BENCH players who disrespect our Flag."

Trump writes that National League Football players should "Stand for Anthem or sit for game!"

Jones said Sunday, "If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won't play."

On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence left an Indianapolis Colts game in protest after about a dozen San Francisco players kneeled during the anthem. Trump tweeted later that he had told Pence to leave if any players kneeled.

Trump rekindled the on-field protests just over two weeks ago when he said any NFL players who kneeled during the anthem should be fired.

Trump says Pence's attendance at a 49ers-Colts game this past weekend was "long planned."

Trump's comment on Twitter Monday appears to respond to questions about whether Pence's brief attendance at the NFL game was a political stunt. Pence left the stadium after some San Francisco players took a knee during the national anthem.

The former Indiana governor flew in to Indianapolis so he could watch Peyton Manning's jersey retirement ceremony. But he did not stay long. Around kickoff, Pence wrote on Twitter that he left because he would not "dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem."