NFLPA denies Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith discussed how to handle Donald Trump's statements

Boldin: Players are trying to bring people together with protests (0:47)

Former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin reacts to President Trump's comments that NFL owners should fire players who protest during the national anthem. (0:47)

The NFL Players Association denied Sunday that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and union chief DeMaurice Smith discussed how to handle President Donald Trump's statements about player protests.

A league source said that Goodell and Smith spent part of Saturday discussing how to best respond to the president's position that players who protest during the anthem should be fired.

But Sunday afternoon, the NFLPA issued a statement, saying the two men had not spoken.

"There were no communications between DeMaurice and Roger about the President's comments and certainly no discussions about their respective statements," the NFLPA said. "We reached out to the League office to give them a chance to correct the record as well before my clarification now. They do plan to talk in the near future."

The same NFL source also said Goodell spoke to players such as Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, a leader among players seeking change through social activism.

Trump on Friday night criticized NFL players who lodge protests during the national anthem. Speaking at a political rally in Huntsville, Alabama, Trump said: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired! He's fired!"

Goodell and Smith, along with several owners and players, responded throughout the weekend, releasing statements or expressing their thoughts via social media.

In a statement Saturday morning, Goodell said the NFL is at its best "when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture."

"Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities," Goodell said, in part, referencing Trump.

The NFLPA also released a statement Saturday morning, saying that it makes "no apologies" for protecting the rights of its members, which include freedom of speech.

Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, a guest of Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson on Sunday, called Trump's tweets "insulting and disgraceful."

"For me, to single out any particular group of players and call them S.O.B.'s, to me that's insulting and disgraceful,'' Tagliabue said. "The players should get credit for what they do. And when it comes to speech, they are entitled to speech. We're entitled to listen. We're entitled to disagree or agree for that matter.

"But we're not entitled to shut anybody's speech down. Sometimes you don't like what you hear. That's true in life in lots of context, but you can't be disgraceful when you're doing it.''

Trump resumed tweeting about NFL players and their protests on Sunday morning, this time appealing to fans.

ESPN's David Newton contributed to this report.