NFL Commissioner sends letter on standing for anthem

After more than a year of controversy, the NFL has had enough. commissioner Roger Goodell says he wants players to stand for the anthem.

It’s all in a letter sent to NFL executives Tuesday afternoon.

That letter read in part,

“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”

Goodell continued,

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.

Goodell’s comments fall in line with that of another high profile NFL executive, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Daniel Durbin, Director of USC’s Institute of Sports, Media and Society, says having these two men speak out will be a turning point.

“You have Goodell now taking up a position in this controversy, which means that we`re going to have to wait now and see how players respond, how owners respond, how coaches respond,” Durbin said. “Obviously given that Jerry Jones has made a similar or related comment in the last few days, we`re starting to get a consistent front across the NFL with the owner of perhaps the most storied franchise in the NFL and the commissioner of the NFL both creating, more or less, the same message: that they want to end this problem ”

What’s not clear is how the NFL could, or would, enforce a new policy.

The NFL’s current anthem policy states that players ‘should’ stand, but it doesn’t require they do so.

Jones said earlier this week he has his own team policy that keeps players on the bench if they disrespect the flag, meaning not standing at attention during the anthem.

But punishing NFL players as a whole would be difficult.

“The NFL does have a right to protect itself and its brand by some degree controlling what its employees say and do,” Durbin said. “In this case, we`re in a really gray area because the employees are not saying that is, in and of itself, inflammatory or doing something that is, in and of itself, inflammatory or, in and of itself, illegal.”

Goodell didn’t say how he’d ensure players stand, but wrote the league may offer an in-season platform to promote the work of players on core issues.

He says he’ll discuss the entire issue at a league meeting next week.

But it seems President Trump already approves.

He tweeted this morning,

“It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players stand for our great national anthem. Respect our country.”