NFL talks bring no immediate resolution over standing for the American anthem

The NFL commissioner, team owners and players have met in New York but did not reach an immediate resolution over a rule change regarding players standing for the American anthem.

Last week commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 franchises in which he stressed the league believed "everyone should stand for the national anthem" following a series of protests against president Donald Trump's inflammatory comments last month.

The concept of kneeling or sitting during the Star-Spangled Banner originated last pre-season through then-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who did so as a way to highlight perceived racial injustice.

Kneeling and other protests became more commonplace across NFL games following Trump's assertion in September that those who did not stand for the anthem should be "fired".

It is a topic the president has continued to opine on since, with his tweet on September 26 suggesting the NFL should "set a rule that you can't kneel during our National Anthem!"

On Tuesday players from eight teams, including those who have knelt in recent weeks such as Miami's Kenny Stills, Julius Thomas and Michael Thomas, met with representatives of the NFL Players Association, the commissioner and leading executives from 11 franchises to discuss how they could raise awareness beyond protests.

At the conclusion of that meeting, a joint statement released by the NFL and NFLPA read: "Today owners and players had a productive meeting focused on how we can work together to promote positive social change and address inequality in our communities.

"NFL executives and owners joined NFLPA executives and player leaders to review and discuss plans to utilise our platform to promote equality and effectuate positive change. We agreed that these are common issues and pledged to meet again to continue this work together.

"As we said last week, everyone who is part of our NFL community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem and our military. In the best American tradition, we are coming together to find common ground and commit to the hard work required for positive change."

One of the NFLPA's leading figures told Press Association Sport earlier this month that players such as Philadelphia's Malcolm Jenkins, who was present at Tuesday's meeting, appreciated they must do more than take a pre-game stance to promote their cause.

Ahmad Nassar, president of the NFLPA's marketing arm had said: "What it can't be is limited to what happens before the game starts and I think Malcolm especially, but all the athletes know that, and they've always known that."


 

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