Golden Team Soccer

President Donald Trump said he never asked NFL players to show loyalty to him and that he did not ask them to sign loyalty pledges, according to a new report.

The Associated Press first reported on Tuesday that Trump told a group of players last week that he would “never ask a player to do something that he shouldn’t do.”

Trump’s comments are the latest sign that he is struggling to hold back a growing backlash from players and coaches over the protests that followed the national anthem and the national championship game.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Tuesday that “the president did not seek loyalty from any players” during the private conversation.

Sanders said Trump never requested that players pledge allegiance to him.

In the latest version of the report, Sanders also said Trump told the group of NFL players “that they should never be disrespectful of the flag or the anthem, and should never kneel during the national anthems or during national anachronisms.”

The AP’s report came as Trump continues to defend his handling of the protests and a series of other controversies.

Trump has called for an investigation into former President Barack Obama and several other top officials for their roles in the protests, which drew a national outcry.

Trump said Monday that he had nothing to do with the national controversy over the anthem protests and was merely responding to a reporter who asked if he would be asking players to stand during the anthem.

The president has been outspoken in his criticism of NFL owners and players in the past.

He called for players to be fired in a series on Twitter after the national unrest, which resulted in a league-wide suspension.

The White House on Tuesday denied that Trump ever asked players to do anything.

In response to the AP report, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump “never asked any players to disrespect the flag.”

“The president has never requested or requested any players take a knee during the playing of the national a cappella or during the National Anthem,” Spicer said.

“And he doesn’t think it’s appropriate for a president to ask players to demonstrate.

That’s not what this president wants.

That never happened.”

Trump on Tuesday told reporters that “there is something going on, but I can’t get into it.

There’s nothing to talk about.”

He also dismissed reports that he ordered NFL owners to kneel.

“I think you’ll be surprised,” Trump said.