NFL commission says players will not be forced to stand for anthem


The NFL won’t force players to stand for the National Anthem, it announced Tuesday, but will find ways to help players get positive results with their political activism. 

“We spent today talking about the issues that our players are trying to bring attention to,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said to reporters following the league’s Fall meeting. “Issues in our communities to make our communities better.”

Latest: Hillary Clinton defends protesting NFL players

Coverage: Local restaurant won’t air NFL games because of protests

According to Reuters team owners, union leaders and players met in Manhattan at a hotel where two dozen protesters stood outside. Goodell made no mention of halting protests, instead praising players for their character.

“Today’s discussion ... was very productive,” Goodell said. “It reflected our commitment to work together with our players on issues of social justice. Our players are men of great character. They have a very deep understanding ... of the issues that are going on in all of our communities and their commitment to addressing these issues is admirable.”

The league will meet with players again within the next two weeks. NFL meetings will end Wednesday. 

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback started protesting police shootings of black men during the the 2016 preseason. Other players in the NFL, college, high school and younger leagues began protesting throughout the year.

Protests continued into the 2017 season, but the issue had quieted until President Donald Trump blasted players during a speech on Sept. 22 in support of then Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Luther Strange, saying the NFL should fire any player not standing for the anthem and referring to the players using an expletive. 

Players and teams have reacted differently to Trump’s criticisms. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said last week he would bench any player that took a knee during the anthem. CBS Sports reported Sunday players were frustrated and angry with Jones for becoming the face of the anti-protest side. 

 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

If Eagles can bottle their energy again, all bets are off against Vikings
If Eagles can bottle their energy again, all bets are off against Vikings

The footage that emerged from the aftermath looked like a Hunter S. Thompson home video, a football player in full uniform doing interviews in a German shepherd mask, a middle-aged billionaire either dancing or having a seizure or both. A divisional playoff game ended and a fever dream broke out, and all an outsider could do was step back and marvel...
Australian Open: Within hours, three top Americans fall
Australian Open: Within hours, three top Americans fall

Did the U.S. Open really end only four months ago? It seemed much more distant than that on the opening day of the Australian Open, as the leading American women fell at the first hurdle, one by one, on the biggest show courts at Melbourne Park. First was Sloane Stephens, the surprise U.S. Open champion last September. Stephens, seeded 13th here, has...
What is Joe Maddon’s slogan for 2018 season? Cubs can’t wait
What is Joe Maddon’s slogan for 2018 season? Cubs can’t wait

Cubs manager Joe Maddon was once dubbed “the ambassador of all good times” by former Rays pitcher Jamey Wright, alluding to Maddon’s ability to keep things light during the long, hard grind.   One of Maddon’s traditions with Tampa Bay was coming up with a new slogan every year, which he typically announced at the beginning...
Penn State is growing into 'Hockey Valley'
Penn State is growing into 'Hockey Valley'

In the shadow of Beaver Stadium stands a sparkling rink with two sheets of ice that Terry Pegula hopes will be the incubator for the growth of hockey in Pennsylvania and across the United States. Eight years ago, Pegula and his wife, Kim, gave over $100 million to Penn State University to fund the creation of men's and women's Division I hockey programs...
Woman's challenge: 7 marathons, 7 days, 7 continents — again
Woman's challenge: 7 marathons, 7 days, 7 continents — again

She's already run around the planet in world-record time. So what does Becca Pizzi do for an encore? Rinse and repeat.  The Massachusetts marathoner, who won the 2016 World Marathon Challenge — seven marathons in seven days on all seven continents — will attempt to become the only person to twice complete the odyssey, which begins...
More Stories