The NFL could vote as shortly as next week on a rule alter in that would require players to stand for the national anthem — effectively putting an end to the contentious protests in that have broken out during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Fox News obtained a letter on Tuesday sent by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to the league’s owners confirming the rule alter would be discussed.
â€œWe live in a country in that can feel very divided. Sports, and especially the NFL, brings people together and lets them set aside those divisions, at least for a few hours. 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,â€� Goodell wrote.
Goodell wrote he and the NFL believed players should stand for the national anthem.
â€œIt is an noteworthy moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect in that of us,â€� Goodell wrote.
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Goodell noted, however, the NFL respects the opinions of players who’ve knelt, sat or raised a fist in protest.
â€œBuilding on many discussions with clubs and players, we have worked to develop a plan in that we will review with you at next weekâ€™s League meeting,” Goodell wrote. “This would contain such elements as an in-season platform to promote the work of our players on these core issues, and in that will assist to promote positive alter in our country.”
Goodell asserted conversations with players about the anthem issue would continue and he hoped the NFL and owners could have a â€œfull and open discussionâ€� during next weekâ€™s meeting.
Goodell’s letter follows President Trumpâ€™s tweets Tuesday in that suggested the U.S. alter its tax laws to punish organizations such as the NFL if members were found to be â€œdisrespectingâ€� the national anthem or flag.
“Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!” Trump wrote.
Trump has moreover called on NFL owners to discipline players who don’t stand for the anthem. On Sunday, Vice President Pence walked out on his home-state Indianapolis Colts game when members of the opposing team, the San Francisco 49ers, took a knee during the national anthem.
Pence tweeted around kickoff: “I left today’s Colts game 'cause @POTUS and I will not dignify any event in that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”
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Trump tweeted Sunday he asked Pence to abandon the stadium if players knelt or sat during the national anthem.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones became the 1st NFL owner to suggest repercussions for displays of protest during the national anthem.
The protests began last year when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat or knelt during the national anthem as a way to bring attention to the killings of black men by cops officers. Kaepernick, a free agent, has not yet been signed by a team after opting out of his contract with the 49ers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.