NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has finally made a move to end the National Anthem protest controversy, by sending a letter to team owners saying it was time to “move past” the controversy, and “everyone should stand for the national anthem.”
Goodell’s words are a far cry from his initial approach to the controversy, when he gave soft support for the player protests, by saying they had a right to voice their opinion on racism and equality, even during the anthem.
The commissioner’s letter won’t end the protests in a technical sense, but it is signaling a move by the league to ban the protests outright. The statement, essentially, announces the formal end to the protests is coming.
Goodell’s initial attempt to cater to the players backfired, as public support swung against the NFL. Many blamed Roger Goodell for allowing the protests to spread, after President Trump criticized the players for dishonoring the country.
The backlash from fans was heavy, and a severe drop in ratings and support, as well as a call to boycott games and advertisers, forced owners to rethink the issue.
Earlier today, Silence Is Consent reported on a plan by owners to change NFL rules to require players stand for the anthem. Goodell’s letter to owners, obtained by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, sought to end the controversy by banning national anthem protests and focusing on other means of social activism.
If true, the move could be seen as a moral victory for President Trump, who pushed for an end to national anthem protests and was vilified by NFL players and many media pundits for it.
Goodell made it clear in the letter, obtained by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, that he wants players to stand during the anthem. He did not provide specifics on how he intends to ensure it, but he wrote that it would “include such elements as an in-season platform to promote the work of our players on these core issues.”
The issue will be discussed, and likely acted upon, during the NFL’s regularly-scheduled fall meetings on Oct. 17-18.
In the letter, Goodell said he wanted to end the controversy by agreeing on a uniform approach for all teams.
“Like many of our fans,” Goodell wrote, “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.”
While current rules only suggest players show respect during the anthem, the proposed new rule would require it.
The controversy started last year, when Sna Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the anthem, saying he could not honor a country who allowed racism and violence against people of color to fester. The protests hit a crescendo earlier this season when hundreds of players took a knee during the anthem in a protest of President Trump.
What do you think of the letter by Roger Goodell? Will this end the National Anthem protests in the NFL? Let us know in the comments, and in addition, share this on social media.