NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that he believes“everyone should stand for the ”National Anthem.”
Goodell said the controversy over NFL players kneeling in protest during the anthem “is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country.”
“Like many of our fans we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us,” Goodell added in his statement.
“We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.”
The commissioner said that the NFL has “worked to develop a plan that we will review with you at next week’s League meeting.” Goodell said it will include items like a platform to promote the work of players on “these core issues,” and said the league will “continue the unprecedented dialogue with our players.”
NFL owners will reportedly consider a rule requiring players to stand during the national anthem when they meet next week.
“Everyone involved in the game needs to come together on a path forward to continue to be a force for good within our communities, protect the game, and preserve our relationship with fans throughout the country,” Goodell said.
“The NFL is at its best when we ourselves are unified. In that spirit, let’s resolve that next week we will meet this challenge in a unified and positive way.”
President Trump set off a firestorm last month when he began attacking NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.
NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem last season to protest racial inequality.
Trump called for NFL owners to fire players who kneel during the anthem and for people to walk out of games where players are protesting.
Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game Sunday after players knelt during the anthem.
Goodell had initially criticized Trump’s comments, saying they showeda “lack of respect for the NFL.”