President Trump asks NFL players to suggest people for pardons

Donald Trump, Colin Kaepernick
Donald Trump, Colin Kaepernick (Getty Images)

President Donald Trump made an unexpected move Friday, asking NFL players to recommend people they think have been treated unfairly, to be considered for a presidential pardon.

Trump has had a contentious relationship with the NFL and its players, as he’s spoken harshly about players who refuse to stand for the national anthem. But speaking Friday at a media conference before his trip to the G-7 meeting in Canada, the president conceded that players have “seen a lot of abuse, they’ve seen a lot of unfairness.”

Trump continued by asking NFL players to bring to his attention people they think have been treated unfairly, and he’ll consider a pardon.

“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,” Trump told reporters. “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.”

It was an unexpected occasion, perhaps, for Trump to offer an olive branch to a league and players he’s spent the past year feuding with in public. Earlier this week he disinvited the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles from the customary White House visit.

And while some critics will view his latest comments as a publicity stunt, he will get some recommendations for pardon. Yahoo Sports reported the first came shortly after Trump’s remarks, when former NFL kicker Lawrence Tynes recommended his brother, Mark Tynes, for a pardon.

Tynes has served 16 years of a 27-year sentence for distributing marijuana.

The president has already granted one high-profile sports-related pardon recently, posthumously pardoning boxing legend Jack Johnson for a racially biased conviction more than 100 years ago.