NFL commissioner "did not ask" players to stand during national anthem

By: Peter Martinez | CBS News
October 17, 2017

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke out Tuesday evening in a very brief press update following an annual meeting with NFL players and owners at the league's headquarters in New York City.

Goodell was asked during the briefing if NFL players were told to commit to standing during the national anthem, he answered: "We did not ask for that."

Earlier Tuesday, The Associated Press reported that 11 owners and more than a dozen players convened and one of the topics of conversation was enhancing the players' platforms for speaking out on social issues. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said the session was "constructive" while Colts defensive called it "positive."

"We heard what they had to say and they heard us," Ross said. "It's open talks and that's a good thing."

"Very little of the meeting was about the actual anthem," Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "We were really more talking about solutions and how we get the results that we want to get."

The meeting came amid ongoing protests by NFL players who have been kneeling during the national anthem in protest -- something former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kicked off in 2016.

A letter from Goodell to team owners circulated in the media recently that discussed a possible rule change that would force all players to stand while the anthem plays. However on Tuesday, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said that the NFL policy on the national anthem "did not come up."

The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has issued a statement urging equality and positive change.

"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," the statement said Tuesday. "NFL executives and owners joined NFLPA executives and player leaders to review and discuss plans to utilize 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."

The statement continued: "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."

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