- Associated Press - Monday, September 25, 2017

BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Charlie Baker says President Donald Trump’s comments about NFL players who do not stand for the national anthem were “unpresidential and divisive.”

Baker, a Republican, also told reporters Monday that while he always stands for the anthem, “it’s a free country and people have the right to exercise their First Amendment rights.”

Dozens of NFL players, including 16 of the New England Patriots, kneeled or sat while The Star-Spangled Banner played in stadiums on Sunday. The actions followed Trump’s suggestion that owners “fire” any player who protests during the song.

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Baker said Trump should focus on the many other “presidential issues” he has to deal with.

The governor added he considers the anthem a symbol of national unity and a sign of respect for members of the armed forces.

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