A group of NFL owners and players are scheduled to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, but they will not discuss a potential rule change pertaining to the national anthem, according to a report.
About a dozen NFL players, Goodell, and select NFL owners are meeting at NFL offices in New York City ahead of the fall owners meeting, according to the Bleacher Report.
They will not discuss a potential rule change regarding the national anthem, and will instead address the anthem issue on their own later in the day during the fall owners meeting, according to ESPN writer Dan Graziano.
A source told Graziano, "The best outcome would be to give players a reason not to kneel."
Goodell sent a letter to all 32 NFL teams last week praising the players and teams for their willingness to engage in dialogue, but he also said that they should stand for the national anthem.
"Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem," Goodell wrote. "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," he continued. "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."
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem last season in order to draw attention to racial injustice. Some other players in the NFL followed suit, but it did not become a national phenomenon until late September of this year after President Donald Trump said NFL owners should not tolerate kneeling during the national anthem. He went on to say that if a player kneels, they should "get that son of a bitch off the field."
Trump's comments about kneeling drew criticism from players and led to over 200 players kneeling or not standing for the national anthem the following Sunday. Protests continued in the following weeks, as did backlash from many fans.
As of Tuesday afternoon, protesters were gathered outside the building in New York City where owners, players, and Goodell were meeting. They chanted "take a knee against white supremacy." Sports Illustrated reporter Jacob Feldman covered the protests on Twitter.
Protestors chanting "Take a Knee against white supremacy" outside of today’s NFL meeting. pic.twitter.com/rw781OxWSM
— Jacob Feldman (@JacobFeldman4) October 17, 2017
UPDATED 2:50 P.M.: The NFL and NFL Players Association released a joint statement after their meeting. The statement indicated they did not reach a resolution on a rule change to require players to stand for the national anthem, but it did say that owners and players discussed how to "work together to promote positive social change and address inequality in our communities."
The statement only mentioned the national anthem once, reading, "Everyone who is part of our NFL community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem, and our military."
NFL and NFL Players Association release joint statement after meeting: pic.twitter.com/fZYumUXb33
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 17, 2017