NFL says ‘everyone should stand,’ prepares proposal to ‘move past the Anthem controversy’

Trump asked, Goodell answered.

Credit: (AP Photo/Matt York, File)
Credit: (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Tuesday afternoon ESPN obtained a memo NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote to NFL owners.

In it, Goodell, speaking on behalf of the organization, suggests athletes could soon be required to stand for the National Anthem writing, “We believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.”

Goodell adds that the league must “move past the Anthem controversy,” and that it has become a “barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress to the underlying issues.” Goodell added that the league has developed a plan to tackle these “core issues” to be presented during a league meeting next week.


The NFL memo echoes a call by Trump made in late September for the league to create a rule barring athletes from protesting.

Absent from Goodell’s statement, however, is any mention of the “underlying issues” that prompted NFL athletes to take a knee during the National Anthem in the first place. Beginning in August of 2016, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality and racial discrimination in the United States.

Others in the NFL community are having difficulty understanding the purpose of the protests before games. Hall of Famer Mike Ditka said during a Monday Night Football interview that there has been “no oppression” in the United States within the last 100 years.


“All of a sudden, it’s become a big deal now, about oppression,” Ditka said. “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of. Now maybe I’m not watching it as carefully as other people. I think the opportunity is there for everybody…If you want to work, if you want to try, if you want to put effort into yourself, I think you can accomplish anything.”

The statement from Goodell comes just a few hours after President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning about changing the tax law so the NFL would no longer get “massive tax breaks,” even though the NFL voluntarily gave up its tax-exempt status two years ago.

Monday night Trump praised Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for saying he would bench players who refused to stand during the Anthem.

“We cannot in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” Jones told the Dallas Morning News on Sunday. “We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind, that the [NFL] and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag.”