NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is not requiring players to stand for the national anthem before games, despite what others — including President Trump — might think.
That’s the message coming from the league Wednesday, the day after Goodell sent a letter to all 32 teams on the topic of the national anthem.
“Commentary this morning about the Commissioner’s position on the anthem is not accurate,” the NFL said in its statement Wednesday. “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.… Players from around the league will be in New York next week to meet with owners to continue our work together.”
In the letter he sent out Tuesday, Goodell stated, “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem” and “We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.”
He then wrote, “Building on 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,” making reference to the league’s fall meeting on Oct. 17-18.
Some people interpreted the letter as an order from the commissioner for players to stand during the national anthem. Trump, who has called for NFL owners to fire players for kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” appears to be one of those people.
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— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2017
“It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem,” Trump tweeted.
But no such demand appears in the letter from Goodell that Trump seems to be referencing.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy clarified that the league’s statement on Wednesday “isn’t just about the president.”
League policy states that players “should” stand during the national anthem, but players who have not been doing so have not faced discipline from the NFL. That could change after next week’s meetings, but at this point that’s speculation since Goodell’s letter didn’t give any such detail about the commissioner’s plan to deal with the issue.