Roger Goodell Tells NFL Owners in Letter That ‘Everyone Should Stand for the National Anthem’

FILE – In this May 24, 2016, file photo, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell answers reporter’s questions at an NFL owner’s meeting in Charlotte N.C. Goodell disagrees with Colin Kaepernick’s choice to kneel during the national anthem, but recognizes the quarterback’s right to protest. Asked by The Associated Press about Kaepernick’s decision not to stand before games when the national anthem is played, Goodell says: “I support our players when they want to see change in society, and we don’t live in a perfect society. … On the other hand, we believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL. I personally believe very strongly in that.” (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday wrote a letter to all 32 league owners regarding the protests that have taken place during the national anthem, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

In the letter, which Schefter shared on his Facebook page, Goodell wrote that the “current dispute over the National 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.”

Last year, former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat down and later took a knee during the playing of the national anthem as protest against racial injustice. More players have joined the protests and President Donald Trump spoke out against the activity in September and has continued to do so.

Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters has sat during the playing of the national anthem at every game this season.

Goodell would like players to stand, but the national anthem is not mentioned in the NFL rulebook. However, players “should” stand for the anthem, according to the league’s game operation manual.

“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem,” Goodell wrote. “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.”

Could the NFL change the language in the operations manual to require players to stand without consent of the players?

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SOURCE: The Kansas City Star, Pete Grathoff