John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports



On Tuesday, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said that discussions about the national anthem would be "front and center on the agenda" for next week's league meetings. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo out to team executives and presidents outlining what he hopes to accomplish with the discussions.

"The current dispute over the National Anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game," wrote Goodell, "and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country."

Goodell went on to write that the league believes everyone should stand for the national anthem, which he identified as an important part of NFL games.

"The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues," Goodell continued. "We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players."

Currently, the national anthem isn't even mentioned in the league's official rulebook. However, there is mention of it in the league's game operations manual, which is worded poorly and does not necessarily state that players must stand for the pre-game tradition.

It is unknown what the NFL wants to do about the situation but we learned on Wednesday that there is no plan to require players to stand for the national anthem, a league spokesman told NFL.com.

Earlier this week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made headlines when, after a conversation with President Trump, he said that any Dallas players "disrespecting the flag" would be benched. That caught the attention of San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid, who has been kneeling during the national anthem since joining former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last season.

Reid has been very open to discussing the issues that prompted the protest with the media and even wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times, which was published on September 25. In the piece, he shared the desire to take some sort of action after watching violence across the nation.

During a recent interview on The View, Reid stated he would continue to kneel even if he wore a Cowboys uniform.

"I think that's a poor decision on Jerry's part," Reid said. "We have a constitutional right to protest and that's all we're doing. We're exercising it. It's a peaceful protest. We're not doing anything violent. We're simply trying to raise awareness around the issues that our country face."

"If I were in Dallas, I would explain to Jerry where I'm coming from, what these issues are, and I would try to help educate him on why we're protesting," Reid continued. "And I would continue to protest because that's my constitutional right."

As he has done all along, Reid explained that the protest is not about disrespecting the flag or military.

"When we decided to start this process, we decided to kneel as a sign of respect," Reid said. "So, it's very confusing for me that it's been misconstrued as disrespectful."

You can watch the entire interview with Reid below.



On Wednesday, Reid spoke to reporters in the 49ers locker room prior to practice and was asked about the possibility of a rule change to force players to stand for the national anthem. Of course, this was prior to reporters becoming aware of the news that no such mandate was in the works.

"I'm not sure if they can do that but I guess we'll find out soon," Reid said.

Reid went on to say he has the support of 49ers CEO Jed York, who, according to Reid, said no player would be forced to stand during the national anthem.


During an interview on KNBR, another 49ers player, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, also spoke up regarding the protests.

"My intentions are just to continue to stand for what's right and do what's right for people," Goodwin said. "Not just black people, not just white people, not Asians, no matter the demographic. Just to do what's right by all people and to stand for what I believe in. I believe that everybody should be treated fairly and treated the right way. And I do believe that everybody in the world knows the difference between right and wrong.

"So, when you make a decision to kneel or to not put your hand over your heart or do whatever it is that you feel you need to do to protest, I think you stick with that because it's your right as an American. Those are the things that you fight for.

"I'll have a kid one day. My wife is pregnant and I want to be able to tell my kid, 'Hey son, hey daughter, you do what's right no matter what because your dad did. I fought for your freedoms and I fought for the rights that you have today and I protested without any anger, without any fear, without any worries of losing all that I had because I wanted to do what was right and what God put on my heart to do.'"

You can listen to the entire interview with Goodwin below.



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