Writing in this space on Tuesday, I way too graciously headlined a piece by saying: “In Case You Missed It, the NFL Might Have Caved On a Lot More Than Just the Anthem Protests.” I must apologize for using the word “might” in this headline. Because there’s no might about it, the NFL has completely caved on the anthem protests.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the media on Wednesday, and made plain the fact that the NFL will only “encourage” their players to stand. The league will not “force” them to stand for the anthem.
“We believe that our players should stand for the national anthem,” Goodell said. “We want our players to stand, we’re going to continue to encourage them to stand.”
Goodell, proving that he has now made the transition from NFL commissioner to protester PR hack, explained that the players aren’t trying to disrespect the flag. “They are not doing this in any way to be disrespectful to the flag, but they also understand how it’s being interpreted, and that’s why we’re trying to deal with those underlying issues,” Goodell said.