Report: NFL Owners Discuss Rule About Players Standing for National Anthem

NFL owners will discuss a possible rule change in a meeting next week that would require players to stand for the national anthem, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. This comes two months after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell defended the league’s players by saying he understands and respects them using their rights to protest.

Goodell sent a letter to the NFL’s chief executives and club presidents in which he says the league believes “everyone should stand for the National Anthem.” Goodell then says the league cares and respects players using their platform to voice their concerns on “critical social issues,” but that the controversy surrounding the national anthem is a “barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issue.”

“We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players,” Goodell writes.

Building on discussions with teams and players, Goodell proposes team owners review a plan next week in an effort to “be a force for good within our communities, protect the game, and preserve our relationship with fans throughout the country.” “In that spirit, let’s resolve that next week we will meet this challenge in a unified and positive way.”

In response, Donald Trump tweeted that it’s “about time” Goodell demanded players to stand for the national anthem. The NFL released a statement on Wednesday morning, however, saying Goodell’s position on the national anthem is “not accurate.”

“As we said yesterday, there will be a discussion of these issues at the owners meeting next week,” the statement reads. “The NFL is doing the hard work of trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together. Commissioner Goodell spent yesterday with Miami Dolphins players, law enforcement and community leaders witnessing first-hand the outstanding work our players and clubs are doing to strengthen their communities. Players from around the league will be in New York next week to meet with owners to continue our work together.”

There is currently no proposal prepared to vote on at next week’s meeting, according to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, but how the league deals with protests is still expected to be the first order of business.