On Tuesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to all 32 teams in the league in an effort to “move past” the increased controversy concerning the National Anthem protest. For the last few weeks, tensions have been high after Donald Trump launched an attack on the NFL and its players, for their protest of racial inequality and police brutality. Since then, Trump has put the pressure on owners, as well as the league, to put an end to the protests. Now, it seems the league has complied.
In the letter obtained by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Goodell said that he wants players to stand during the anthem. Although the commissioner revealed that he understands that players have certain issues within their communities that they want to be heard, he believes that the controversy over the anthem is preventing people from having “honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues.”
“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,” he wrote. “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,” Goodell wrote.
According to ESPN, the current policy says players “should” stand for the anthem, but does not require it. However, after “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. This would include such elements as an in-season platform to promote the work of our players on these core issues, and that will help to promote positive change in our country.”
“In that spirit, let’s resolve that next week we will meet this challenge in a unified and positive way,” Goodell concluded.