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Roger Goodell: ‘We Believe Everyone Should Stand for the National Anthem’

NFL Commissioner says that the ”controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues“

In a memo sent to NFL Chief Executives and Club Presidents Tuesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said “we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem,” addressing the protests over the past several weeks. Many players have been taking a knee during the anthem to protest racial inequality in the U.S. Goodell previously stood in solidarity with players protesting.

“We live in a country that can feel very divided,” Goodell’s statement, which was sent to all 32 teams and acquired by ESPN‘s Adam Schefter and NBC Sports, said. “Sports, and especially the NFL, brings people together and lets them set aside those divisions, at least for a few hours.”

“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem,” he continued. “It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”

The commissioner said that the “controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues,” he added that the NFL must “move past this controversy,” and to “do that together with our players.”

Goodell continued in the memo to say that he plans to implement an “in-season platform to promote the work of our players on these core issues,” and that the League will continue an “unprecedented dialogue with our players.”

He concluded that the NFL is “best when we are ourselves are unified.”

Goodell had previously stood by his players in the wake of President Trump tweeting that anyone who protests the anthem should be fired. “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities,” the commissioner said on Sept.23.

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