Colin Kaepernick has started a movement that, rightfully so, won’t let up! Sending a message of racial inequality in the United States, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback began kneeling during the 2016 football season. As we all know now, many athletes and sports fans across the country (and the world) have been kneeling to send that same message, as well as to support Kaepernick — who, suspiciously, was not picked up by an NFL team for the current 2017 season.
Recently, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, publicly voiced his thoughts, penning an official letter to all NFL teams and posting it on Twitter. The big take away was that he believed “that everyone should stand for the national anthem.” He ended the letter by stating there would be a “full and open discussion of these issues when we meet next week in New York.”
Well, next week has come, and today, October 18, Goodell has spoken. At a press conference held to discuss where the league stands on the issue, the commissioner said, "We just had two days of conversation with our owners. Our clubs all see this the same way. We all want our players to stand.”
He elaborated on the decision by stating that he understood why some people were upset that some players weren't standing for the anthem.
Although wanting the players to stand is what the league decided collectively, Goodell made it clear that the athletes wouldn’t be forced to stand, saying that the NFL and owners would continue to stay open to discussing issues that concern the players.
Interestingly, the announcement at the press conference happened hours after President Trump went off on Twitter, apparently upset because he heard that the NFL would not force the football players to stand.
Goodell addressed the tweet, making it clear that the decision was not at all political. "What we're trying to do is stay out of politics. What we're trying to do is keep people focused on football."
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
Hopefully, there will be future meetings to find a better middle ground, instead of just expecting people not to express themselves freely by kneeling. It just doesn’t feel like the best response to such a huge movement.