The expected contract extension for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has reportedly been delayed amid the ongoing controversy surrounding player protests of police brutality and racial discrimination during the national anthem, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Schefter reported Sunday that "Goodell's deal is still expected to be completed and has been papered, sources told ESPN, but the process has been slowed while the overwhelming majority of the NFL's attention has been diverted to handling the anthem issue, which has affected TV ratings, merchandise sales and the country's feelings about football."
"The anthem issue has overridden everything—and I do mean everything," a source told Schefter.
Schefter noted other topics discussed during last week's owners meetings—such as a move to all-digital ticketing and the 2018 NFL draft being held at the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium—received far less attention than the anthem debate.
A group of players met with owners during those meetings to discuss what the league and players might do to address the underlying issues the players have been protesting. The issues that concern players include criminal justice reform, bail reform and mandatory sentencing, Goodell said, per ESPN.com.
While the owners maintained in those meetings they would prefer players stand during the anthem, the league did not make any changes to its policy, which doesn't require standing.
"We're not afraid of the tough conversations," Goodell said. "That is what we are having with our players. That's what we had [Tuesday] to make sure we understand one another and understand where they are coming from. Out of those discussions, they understand that the owners and the NFL really do care about their issues and what we can do to make their communities better. That is what dialogue is all about, listening and understanding so we can get that kind of understanding between different parties.
"That is where real change happens. That is the opportunity for us in our communities."
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