NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a letter on Tuesday that NFL players, coaches, and owners should stand during the national anthem.
Goodell sent the letter to all 32 NFL teams in response to the recent national anthem protests, which former San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick started in 2016 and that have come under recent scrutiny from President Donald Trump.
In the letter, Goodell says, 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.
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.
Goodell continued by saying that everyone in the league “needs to come together” and that he hopes the issue will be resolved next week during the NFL’s Fall League Meeting in New York.
The letter came only a few hours after President Trump suggested on Tuesday morning that the NFL should not get any more tax breaks because of the national anthem protests.