NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a press conference Wednesday that he expects players to stand for the national anthem, though he upheld the league's stance that players who kneel during the anthem would not be punished. The NFL and the NFLPA, in a joint statement, described "a productive meeting" that involved discussions of how the league, owners and players could "work together" to "promote positive social change and address inequality in our communities".
For starters, the NFL owners chose siding with the players rather than with the president and his mission to force everyone to stand for the national anthem.
According to the MMQB's Albert Breer, the owners do not plan to propose or implement a rules change on the National Anthem.
York said owners are focused on helping players use their platforms to advance their message. "But at the same time we have a responsibility to the communities that we live in, the communities that we come from, and so I think we all share that interest in really talk more in collaboration than an us-against-you type of situation".
Jed York, the owner of the San Francisco 49ers, and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank both said that they don't fear Trump's reaction and will continue to go about their business. It's an important part of our policy and the game. Representatives from the National Football League and NFLPA were there, as well as 13 players from different teams. "He's said from day one that this is about giving rise to social injustice and focusing on social injustice", Geragos said in an interview Wednesday morning with Good Morning America anchor Michael Strahan. At a campaign rally in September, the president suggested that owners should fire any "son of a bitch" who takes a knee.
The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. "And they're actually incredibly knowledgeable, articulate and they spent the time going into the communities to talk about that", Goodell said. "We felt like there was real dialogue and conversation and thought it was positive". "In the best American tradition, we are coming together to find common ground and commit to the hard work required for positive change".
More players have begun kneeling since Trump criticized the practice, and some sympathetic teammates have linked arms with the kneelers while standing themselves. And we believe, with the players, that we can help them, we can support them.