NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said after meeting with team owners today that the league wants players to stand for the national anthem.
However, the NFL has no 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.”
Per NBC Sports, 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.
Many, including Trump, have publicly admonished the NFL for allowing players to demonstrate by refusing to stand during the national anthem. The President has demanded that the NFL punish players for refusing to stand and referred to protesters as 'sons of b******' during a rally in Alabama last month.
'Too much talk, not enough action,' Trump tweeted after Goodell spoke Wednesday. 'Stand for the National Anthem.'