By Britt Terrell

The NFL's decision to require players to stand when they are on the field during the national anthem was in part influenced by President Trump's comments that football players kneeling to protest police brutality should be fired.

"He really stirred the pot and created a real mess and almost, really, threw dirt in the faces of the NFL players," said Frank Zaccanelli, CEO of Fiamma Partners and former president of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.

In an interview Thursday with Cheddar, Zaccanelli cited Trump's comments at a political rally last year in Huntsville, Ala., when the president said players were "ruining the game."

Trump piled on the day after the NFL announced its new policy, saying in an interview on "Fox and Friends" on Thursday that anyone who does not stand during the anthem, "maybe they shouldn't be in the country."

The NFL Players Association criticized the league and the teams' owners for not consulting with the union before deciding on the new policy, which calls for teams to be fined if players kneel, but allows them to stay in the locker room during the anthem.

“NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about,” the NFLPA said in a statement.

"That is the canyon-wide split that's going on inside the NFL and it's not good for the game, it's not good for the fans," said Zaccanelli. "How could you possibly have done this without talking to the players' association? I think that's a big mistake by the owners."

For full interview, click here.