The NFL on Wednesday refuted President Donald Trumpâ€™s claim that league Commissioner Roger Goodell is â€œfinally demandingâ€ that players stand up during the national anthem.
â€œCommentary this morning about the Commissioner's position on the Anthem is not accurate. 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,â€ the league said in a statement.
The NFLâ€™s clarification came one day after Goodell said he would meet with the leagueâ€™s 32 owners to address how to move forward amid a national debate about anthem protests. Dozens of NFL players have conducted demonstrations, including kneeling during the anthem or skipping it altogether, since Trump called on owners to fire any player who fails to stand.
Goodell said the league believes â€œeveryone should stand for the National Anthem,â€ but stopped short of mandating that players stand. The commissioner added that the league would consider forming an â€œin-season platformâ€ to allow players to promote social justice efforts.
â€œWe want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players,â€ Goodell said.
Earlier Wednesday morning, Trump wrote on Twitter that it was â€œabout timeâ€ that Goodell enforced a standing policy for the national anthem amid league-wide player protests.
â€œIt is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem â€“ RESPECT OUR COUNTRY,â€ Trump said.