NASHVILLE -- U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said Sunday he wouldn't have waded into the NFL controversy over players who kneel instead of stand during the national anthem.
Asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" if President Donald Trump was right to step into the flap, the Tennessee Republican said, "I would not have weighed in."
"I know it plays to the base," added Corker, of Trump's controversial call for NFL team owners to fire football players who kneel. "I know that's a constant thing that's on the president's mind."
Corker, who announced last week he won't seek a third term next year, told "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd that "I think that probably it's best for us to stay with the things that we have control over and let the private sector ... let the people who are involved in ticket sales, let the people that are involved with athletes, let them make decisions about what needs to happen on the field.
The senator is a close friend of Cleveland Browns' team owner Jimmy Haslam of Knoxville, brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who has said he is mulling a run for Corker's seat.
Last week, Jimmy Haslam tweeted out a statement in which he and his wife, Dee, called Trump's comments "misguided, uninformed and divisive."
Ahead of today's NFL game schedule, Trump on Saturday returned to the kneeling controversy as well as attacking critics of the federal response to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.
"Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. Respect our Flag and our Country!" he wrote in a tweet.