The NFL on Wednesday released a statement clarifying a proposal to have players stand for the national anthem that US President Donald Trump praised in a tweet.
On Tuesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to teams saying the league had a plan on how to end national anthem protests while promoting players’ social work within their communities.
On Wednesday, Trump praised the NFL, tweeting, “It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem-RESPECT OUR COUNTRY.”
The NFL responded on Wednesday by releasing a statement without mentioning Trump’s name, clarifying the proposal.
“Commentary this morning about the Commissioner’s position on the Anthem is not accurate. As we said yesterday, there will be a discussion of these issues at the owners meeting next week. The NFL is doing the hard work of trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together. Commissioner Goodell spent yesterday with Miami Dolphins players, law enforcement and community leaders witnessing first-hand the outstanding work our players and clubs are doing to strengthen their communities. Players from around the league will be in New York next week to meet with owners to continue our work together.”
Trump has been critical of national anthem protests. He said at a September rally that NFL owners should “fire” any “son of a b—-” that kneels during the anthem. In the wake of the comments, more players and teams around the league protested during the anthem as some players kneeled, locked arms, or stayed off the field entirely.
On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence left a San Francisco 49ers-Indianapolis Colts game early when players knelt during the anthem.
Later on Sunday, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that the Cowboys “will not play” any player that is disrespectful to the flag.
Currently, there is no rule that requires players to stand for the anthem, though a policy manual said that players “should” stand for the anthem and may be subject to discipline for doing otherwise.