Roger Goodell, NFL’s commissioner sent a memo this week to football NFL executives and club presidents of 32 football teams demanding that players “honor our flag” by standing for the National Anthem.
President Donald Trump has publicly displayed his outrage for the National Anthem protests, where a group of NFL players has chosen to kneel instead of standing as the “Star Spangled Banner” plays before football games.
On Tuesday, Trump said tax law should be changed so the NFL gets less in tax breaks in response to the protests.
“Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!” Tweeted Trump.
On Wednesday, Trump responded to Goodell’s letter by saying it was “about time.”
“It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem – RESPECT OUR COUNTRY,” tweeted Trump early Wednesday morning.
Goodell sent the memo on Tuesday after the tremendous backlash the NFL has received from fans in response to the National Anthem protests.
“We live in a country that can feel very divided. Sports, and especially the NFL, brings people together and lets them set aside those divisions, at least for a few hours,” wrote Goodell. “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.”
Goodell pointed out that the fans, along with the higher-ups at NFL, believe the National Anthem should be respected.
“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,” wrote Goodell.
He also pointed out that he respects the opinions of the players, but wants the NFL to “move past this controversy.”
The tension has been at an all-time high since Vice President Mike Pence left the Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers game on Sunday after some of the players didn’t stand for the anthem.
“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,” wrote Goodell.
Even though Goodell sent out this memo, NFL released an official statement clarifying that it still doesn’t ban players from standing during the anthem.
Goodell and NFL team owners are meeting next week in New York City for the annual fall meeting where this issue and future actions will be discussed. A rule change banning players from kneeling during the anthem could potentially be implemented at this meeting.
“Commentary this morning about the Commissioner’s position on the Anthem is not accurate,” said the NFL statement, released by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “As we said yesterday, there will be a discussion of these issues at the owners meeting next week. 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.”
Author’s note: I am not sure how many more times we have to argue this, but there are other ways to protest without disrespecting our flag! These players are making a statement at the expense of our current and past military personnel. Hopefully, the league will make an official rule next week. What Goodell sent is a step in the right direction. Trump’s comments have evidently made an impact. We called all of this when it first started.