So the NFL will NOT require players to stand for the National Anthem, and President Trump isn’t happy about it… AT ALL!
At a meeting Tuesday with team owners in New York, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league hasn’t asked players to commit to standing. A league spokesman said earlier the NFL was not expected to change its current policy, which says that players should stand, not that they must. Goodell told reporters on Tuesday:
“We did not ask for that. We spent today talking about the issues that players have been trying to bring attention to — issues to make our communities better.”
It all started the NFL’s season last year when then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the Anthem to protest the treatment of black Americans, particularly by police. Other players then began joined him.
Trump criticized those players protesting and encouraged NFL team owners to fire players who take a knee during the Anthem, and tweeting Wednesday morning to further the issue:
The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem. Total disrespect for our great country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
You’ll remember back in September, President Trump suggested that team owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who takes a knee.
That’s when all hell broke loose! Hundreds of players joined the protests, and several owners criticizing the president. However, others came out in support of the president like Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who said any player who “disrespects the flag” will not play.
Goodell said last week that the league needs to “move past this controversy,” adding:
“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.”
But on the second day of the NFL meetings, the focus changed from changing the policy to understanding why players feel the need to protest.
San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York told reporters on Tuesday:
“It’s not trying to trade off to get somebody to stand up, you want to make sure that people feel compelled to do what they feel comfortable with. Even if you don’t agree with what the sort of messaging is of taking a knee, we need to get the messaging away from the detractors that want to sidetrack the issues of social and racial inequality.”
York said at first he was against the protest because he “didn’t understand it,” but said his opinion changed after he met with Kaepernick last season. York says now, owners are focused on helping players use their platforms to advance their message saying:
“Racial and socioeconomic inequality have existed in this country for way too long. Our players are not trying to be disrespectful to the flag. They’re not disrespectful to our country. They’re trying to bring awareness to issues that come from their communities that most people that look like me don’t understand.”
York said he doesn’t think any players will be reprimanded for taking a knee.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank was one of the owners who locked arms with players during the Anthem after Trump’s comments in September. Tuesday, Blank said the meetings were “good” and thinks players kneeling is “fine” adding that players have “the right to express themselves … in a respectful way.”
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said on Wednesday that the meetings were “all good” adding his players have “great respect” for the Anthem and “all it represents.” Lurie says the Eagles believe “in this difficult time of division and conflict, it is more important than ever for football to be a great unifier.”
Here is Goodell’s press conference after the conclusion of Wednesday’s meeting: