Roger Goodell made waves when he suggested the NFL might implement a rule that would force players to stand for the National Anthem. Players have been silently protesting racial injustice in the United States by taking a knee before the game while the anthem is played.
The NFL commissioner is meeting with the owners later this week and is expected to discuss the protests with them.
According to Reuters, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart says that Goodell will work with players to find a way to use their platform for the cause.
“(Goodell) has a plan that he is going to present to owners about how to use our platform to both raise awareness and make progress on issues of social justice and equality in this country.”
The owners and the players association will be meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday in New York City to discuss the polarizing protests that continue to grab headlines week after week. While no player in the NFL has been suspended or released from the team as a result of protests, it’s become common in lower levels in recent history.
Several high school players across the country have been kicked off their football team for kneeling or raising a fist during the anthem, which has only furthered the need for the NFL to officially address the issue.
Whatever solution the league comes up with, there will be backlash. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been particularly vocal about players standing for the National Anthem, and will not be happy if he is told he can’t discipline a player for peacefully protesting.
Any effort to stifle the players could have a reverse effect. Without the players, there is no NFL, and if they were able to reach a nearly unanimous consensus to kneel during the anthem, there is nothing the league could do about it.