NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said after meeting with team owners today that the league wants players to stand for the national anthem but has not passed a rule that would force them to stand.
“We believe that our players should stand for the national anthem,” Goodell said. “We want our players to stand, we’re going to continue to encourage them to stand.”
Some sports leagues, including the NBA, require players to stand for the anthem and suspend them if they don’t. Goodell said he wants to find a solution that will involve the league addressing criminal justice issues that players are protesting, rather than cracking down on players’ protests.
“They are not doing this in any way to be disrespectful to the flag, but they also understand how it’s being interpreted, and that’s why we’re trying to deal with those underlying issues,” Goodell said.
Goodell stressed that few players are kneeling during the anthem and he hopes those who are will decide to stand.
“We have about half a dozen players. We hope and are going to try to get that to zero,” Goodell said.
Whether the number of players kneeling for the anthem will reach zero remains to be seen, but Goodell doesn’t plan to get there by forcing players to stand.