From Robert Gehl: The NFL made a decision that has outraged Donald Trump.
The President lashed out on Twitter after it was announced that the league decided not to force players to stand for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.
The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem. Total disrespect for our great country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
“The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem,” he wrote. “Total disrespect for our great country!”
Meeting Tuesday with players and team owners, then another later meeting with just Owners, NFL commissioner Roger Goddell confirmed that there were not any proposals on the table to change the rules regarding the national anthem.
Goddell said the meetings were focused on the actual issues raised by the player protests over the last 18 months. They are trying to “move beyond” the anthem issue, but clearly it still infuriates the President.
Asked Tuesday afternoon whether or not the issue was brought up, Goodell replied:
“We did not ask for that. We spent today talking about the issues that players have been trying to bring attention to – issues to make our communities better. I think we all agree there’s nothing more important than trying to give back to our communities and make them better. That was the entire focus of today.”
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported that the owners and players instead focused on finding productive ways to highlight social issues that are important to the players.
According to San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York, “in the long run, I think you’ll see a really, really strong platform and initiative where we have several weeks of the season that are dedicated to socioeconomic and racial causes.”
Of course, the elephant in the room – or not in the room – was former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started this whole protest off with the taking of a “knee” during a pregame last year.
When one media outlet reported that Kaepernick was invited but chose not to show up, the football player/activist’s lawyer said he was not invited.
Official Geragos & Geragos statement, spelling out that the NFL did not invite Colin Kaepernick to attend today’s meetings: pic.twitter.com/ecSPzWag84
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 17, 2017
“Colin Kaepernick was not invited to attend today’s meeting by any official from the NFL or any team executives,” they wrote. “Other players wanted him present and have asked that he attend the next meeting with the goal of forging a lasting consensus around these issues. Mr. Kaepernick is open to future participation on these important discussions.”
When the meeting was over, the players and the league released a joint statement:
“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,” they wrote. “We agreed that these are common issues and pledged to met again to continue this work together.
“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.”
New from the NFL and NFLPA pic.twitter.com/lMQMhlDGAB
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) October 17, 2017
But no mention of the protests during the games. Is it over for the NFL? Sound off below!