Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, believes that players “should” stand for the national anthem; however, according to him, there is no rule for not standing for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” On October 18, 2017, Goodell spoke out to reporters, enhancing the importance for the league to respect the United States and respect the people who sacrifice their lives to protect our country. He stated, “We are not afraid of the tough conversations. Out of those discussions, [players] understand that owners and the NFL do really care about the issues.” President Donald Trump slammed the NFL, tweeting, “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!”
Goodell insists that players are “not doing it to be disrespectful to the flag, but they understand how it’s being interpreted.” Despite reports, the NFL will “encourage” its players to stand for the anthem. There has been a weeks-long feud between the White House and the NFL. Goodell responded, “The current dispute over the national anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country. Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.” The “take a knee” movement, originating with Colin Kaepernick, has spread amongst other NFL players and WNBA players. It has even spread across the pond, leading a German professional soccer team to kneel during pregame ceremonies.