Roger Goodell Says 'We Believe Our Players Should Stand for the National Anthem'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistOctober 18, 2017

Member of the San Francisco 49ers kneel and stand during the playing of the National Anthem before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. Kneeling are (L-R) strong safety Eric Reid (35), wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (11) and defensive back Adrian Colbert (38). (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

After a meeting between NFL owners and players about various social issues impacting the league, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with reporters Wednesday to discuss players' protests during the national anthem.

"We believe our players should stand for the national anthem," Goodell said (via NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano).

Per Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News, Goodell also said the national anthem is "an important part of our game" and there are only "six or seven players" taking part in the protests.

The NFL held its annual league meetings on Oct. 17-18 in New York. DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, and players were invited to attend a meeting to discuss protests taking place during the national anthem. 

Goodell said after Tuesday's meeting the owners "did not ask for" players to stand during the national anthem. 

"We spent today talking about the issues players are trying to bring attention to," he said (via ESPN.com). "Issues in our communities, to make our communities better."

Goodell sent a memo to all 32 NFL owners last week in which he also said the league believes everyone should stand for the anthem. 

"It is an important moment in our game," Goodell's memo said. "We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us."

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the protests during the national anthem last year, telling NFL.com's Steve Wyche he was "not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."

Players around the NFL, including 49ers safety Eric Reid and Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, joined Kaepernick's movement. Reid continues to kneel during the national anthem, while Jenkins raises his fist. 

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