Roger Goodell: "We believe everyone should stand for the national anthem"

NFL and players hold 'positive' meeting amid national anthem controversy

His view puts him somewhat at odds with President Donald Trump, who has condemned athletes who protest during the national anthem.

Goodell was asked about the tweet at a press conference on Wednesday and insisted that the National Football League will not force players to stand.

On Tuesday, in an unprecedented move for a league meeting, a group of 11 owners and more than a dozen players met for more than two hours at NFL headquarters.

The league has been under intense criticism from President Trump and some fans because of protests by some players who have refused to stand during the anthem. The players and the owners came to an agreement that these aren't really issues that are player issues or owner issues. these are issues that affect all of our communities - so we do plan to meet again soon. "But they also understand how it's being interpreted".

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.

Instead, the meeting between owners and the players focused more on how the league can help players use their platforms for speaking out on social issues. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said his team would bench any player who protests during the anthem and thereby, in Jones's view, shows disrespect to the American flag. "When you look at our clubs and what they do on a daily basis, when you look at our players at what they do and how they participate in that - we all feel very strongly about our country and our pride, and we will continue to do that".

The number of players refusing to stand has fallen off dramatically since peaking shortly after President Trump suggested at a September 22 speech that owners should fire any "son of a bitch" who refuses to stand.

He also expects more talks between players and owners in the next few weeks. "Based on the evidentiary standard that's in place and number of owners that would need to take part in the alleged collusion, I think it's going to be quite a challenge".

Goodell said he was pleased so far with the pace of play, crediting the 40-second clock, centralized replay and the officials' access to Microsoft Surface tablets as reasons for the positive change. Goodell said the initiatives to enhance the pace of games have worked, including 40-second clocks after touchdowns, use of the Microsoft Surface tablets for replay reviews, and the centralization in the NY headquarters of officiating calls that are reviewed.

Goodell is expected to speak to the media when the meeting concludes on Wednesday afternoon.

Asked if he understood what the issues were that concerned the players, Goodell listed criminal justice reform, bail reform and mandatory sentencing as some of those issues.

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