NFL Players Huddle With Owners Over National Anthem Protests

Malcolm Jenkins #27 and Chris Long #56 of the Philadelphia Eagles stand during the National Anthem during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field

The NFL has not disciplined players who have opted to sit or take a knee during the anthem, but Goodell says he wants to have a productive dialogue with owners and players on the issue.

Retired NFL player Anquan Boldin of Pahokee (left), Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid speak Tuesday after a meeting with NFL players and owners on social inequality in NY.

"I'm not sure we're close to resolution", Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said.

There were 13 players in attendance at the joint meeting, including Eric Reid, who has been kneeling during the national anthem since the start of the movement by then-teammate, Colin Kaepernick. Jones has said he would punish players who kneel by keeping them off the field. "But I think the ownership, the teams and the league, I think we're all going in the right direction".

NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent joined Goodell and the 11 owners representing the league at the meeting.

The gesture has become common across the National Football League and is meant to call attention to what protesting players see as a pattern of racism in the treatment of African-Americans by USA police.

More fuel was dumped on the protest fire earlier this month when Jones, whose Cowboys are often called "America's Team", told reporters that any of his players who disrespected the anthem would be remanded to the bench.

Following the meeting, the league and union said, "In the best American tradition, we are coming together to find common ground and commit to the hard work required for positive change".

Outside the Manhattan luxury hotel where team owners, players and their union's leaders met, about two dozen people showed their backing for the protesting athletes, kneeling on the sidewalk while holding placards that read "Take a knee against police brutality".

The NBA has always been considered the most progressive of the four main North American professional sports leagues and players have already been outspoken about the gesture, which has become increasingly common since Colin Kaepernick started it a year ago as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. "In short, this letter is written to the good guys on the wrong side". Now an unsigned free agent, Kaepernick and his grassroots movement were all but forgotten until President Trump told Alabamans at a political rally that National Football League owners should fire any player who wouldn't stand for the anthem. "He is part of a community that embodies and embraces the truest kind of patriotism".

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