NFL Didn't Ask Players to Commit to Standing for Anthem, Commissioner Says

Patrick Smith  Getty Images

Patrick Smith Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has told his players that they will be benched if they do not stand for the national anthem, but Jones, a Trump campaign donor, is the only one of the league's 32 owners to take such a stand.

Meetings between the league owners and players on Tuesday were described as extremely productive, and while Colin Kaepernick was among the players invited to the meeting in Manhattan, he did not attend as he did not want to provide a distraction and is now pursuing legal action against the league.

Goodell noted that only six or seven players are now protesting during the national anthem and said the league is going to work to make that number zero by addressing the underlying issues of those protests.

Seems highly likely there's a "Trump effect" *and a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/10/18/558460284/nfl-and-players-meet-but-punt-on-anthem-controversy" *met yesterday with the players' union in hopes of getting them to "voluntarily" end the protests.

"As we said last week, everyone who is part of our National Football League community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem and our military", the statement read.

Goodell and owners said the league is focused on supporting players' community activism efforts.


Like many owners, Mara has told Giants players that they should stand during the anthem, but that if they have a reason that compels them not to, the team won't prohibit it. I think we all agree there's nothing more important than trying to give back to our communities and make them better. Since opting out of his contract with the 49ers at the end of last season, Kaepernick has had zero job offers. This is a long-term commitment that we have to make. Roger Goodell and the owners are in a bind, wanting the protests to stop to placate Republican fans but not wanting to be heavy-handed by shutting them down lest it alienate Democratic ones, especially since that'll look like they're doing Trump's bidding.

Polls have found that a majority of Americans disapprove of the anthem protests but are unhappy with the way Trump has handled the issue. "Like I said, it's a great starting point". Trump said in his Wednesday tweet, which was part of a barrage on a range of issues, including tax cuts and the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

"We need to make real differences in our community".

York said all owners, including Jones, have a much different perspective now that they've met and listened to players.

"This agreement like it or not, the parties bargained for it, says that 14 or more teams can't conspire to keep a player out of the league", Balitis says.

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