UPDATE Oct. 11:
The National Football League Players Association, the organization representing NFL players, said in a joint statement Wednesday that NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith will join NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in league meetings Oct. 17 and 19. Player leadership will also be in attendance.
“There has been no change in the current policy regarding the anthem. The agenda will be a continuation of how to make progress on the important social issues that players have vocalized,” the statement said. “Everyone who is part of our NFL community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem and our military, and we are coming together to deal with these issues in a civil and constructive way.”
Earlier Wednesday, a league spokesman told NFL.com the NFL does not have plans to mandate players stand for the national anthem, contrary to reports.
“Commentary this morning about the Commissioner's position on the Anthem is not accurate,” gthe spokesman said. “The NFL is doing the hard work of trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together.”
ORIGINAL STORY Oct. 10:
In a letter to the league, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants players to stand during the national anthem before games.
ESPN reported that Goodell expressly said he wanted players to do so.
“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem,” Goodell wrote, according to The Washington Post. “It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. 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.”
“Building on many discussions with clubs and players, we have worked to develop a plan that we will review with you at next week’s League meeting,” Goodell said, according to CNBC, which also obtained a copy of the Tuesday letter.
The letter did not have specifics on how Goodell will enforce players standing during the anthem, but the measure would “include such elements as an in-season platform to promote the work of our players on these core issues.”
Goodell said chief executives and club presidents will “continue the unprecedented dialogue with our players.”
According to ESPN, discussions on the rule change would likely happen at the NFL’s regularly-scheduled fall meetings Oct. 17 and 18.
NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart told Yahoo Sports team owners will discuss anthem rules at the fall meeting.
“I expect and look forward to a full and open discussion of these issues when we meet next week in New York,” Goodell wrote. “Everyone involved in the game needs to come together on a path forward to continue to be a force of good within our communities, protect the game, and preserve our relationship with fans throughout the country.”
Read Goodell’s full memo, from NBC News, below.
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