CALL Staff Writer
On Tuesday, Oct. 17, National Football League 32 white owners will meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss the league’s policy concerning the singing and playing of the National Anthem before all NFL games.
Goodell issued a memo to all 32 teams that the league believes “that everyone should stand for the National Anthem,” and that “the controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues.”
His comments come after Sunday’s Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers game in which Vice President Mike Pence walked out after the Anthem after previously being instructed to do so by President Donald Trump if any player kneeled down.
Current policy simply states that players, “should stand and place their helmets in their left hand.” Should is not mandatory language as outlined by the U.S. Supreme court because “should” is not mandatory language.
The narrative shifted from the issues of police shootings and officers not being held accountable, inequality and injustice brought to the forefront 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick, to patriotism after Trump stated that players who kneeled were “disrespecting our flag”, “our country” and “our veterans” and even stated during a rally in Alabama, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”
Trump’s statement, marked as one of the most offensive statements ever made by a president, sparked a protest among players, coaches and even owners locked arms and kneeled before and some during the playing of the National Anthem.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who happens to be friends with Trump and gave the Trump’s inaugural fund, $1 million, in response to Trump saying, after he spoke to several owners, “I think they are afraid of their players, if you want to know the truth, and I think it’s disgraceful.” Jones has publicly declared that his team’s players are banned from protesting during the anthem.
After his team’s loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Oct. 8, told the press that he believes all NFL players should stand for the anthem. All of the Cowboys were on their feet at Sunday’s game, and Jones suggested he was unaware that two players raised their fists toward the end.
“I don’t know about that. But if there is anything that is disrespectful to the flag then we will not play,” Jones said. “You understand? If we are disrespecting the flag then we won’t play. Period.”
“We’re going to respect the flag, and I’m going to create the perception of it. And we have,” Jones said.
“The league in my mind should absolutely take the rules we’ve got on the books and make sure that we do not give the perception that we’re disrespecting the flag,” Jones said
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said prior to Sunday’s game that President Trump had “changed that whole paradigm” of what kneeling during the anthem means, so “I think it’s incumbent upon players today if that’s how the public is looking at it, is to stand and salute the flag.”
“Trump has made standing for the anthem about patriotism,” Ross added. “It’s so important if that’s what the country is looking at to look at it differently … It’s a different dialogue. Whenever you’re dealing with the flag, you’re dealing with something different,” Ross said.