In a letter to NFL owners, league commissioner Roger Goodell said that “we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem,” a suggestion that there may have been a shift in the league’s attitudes towards players protesting the Star Spangled Banner by kneeling.

The national anthem before NFL games has become a new part of the culture war, with many players now appearing to associate kneeling with protesting the president, after he said not standing is “disrespectful.”

Goodell wrote that the “current dispute over the National Anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country.”

He expanded on the issue:

“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. 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.”

Owners of the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys have said that players who don’t stand will not play.

It was also reported by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that the league’s owners are considering a rule change that would require players to stand for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.


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