It’s possible that more NFL discussion has been about the national anthem protests than about football this season. League ratings are down, and both owners and players are becoming increasingly disgruntled with the situation.
Seems like everyone needs to get in a room and talk this over, right? Good thing the quarterly owners’ meeting was scheduled for Tuesday.
But reports from the meeting, which was attended by the commissioner, team owners and representative players, say that the issue of anthem protests was barely discussed.
They can’t pretend it’s not a big deal, when Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatened to bench players who kneeled during the anthem, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league would consider a rules change on the subject.
Now, Goodell is taking a different tone.
So, what did they discuss?
Here’s what Goodell said after the meetings about potentially making players stand for the anthem, according to Deadspin:
“We did not ask for that. We spent today talking about the issues that players have been trying to bring attention to – issues to make our communities better. I think we all agree there’s nothing more important than trying to give back to our communities and make them better. That was the entire focus of today.”
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported that the owners and players instead focused on finding productive ways to highlight social issues that are important to the players.
According to San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York, “in the long run, I think you’ll see a really, really strong platform and initiative where we have several weeks of the season that are dedicated to socioeconomic and racial causes.”
What about Kaepernick?
The elephant in the room with any discussion of national anthem protests is former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started all this.
While Malcolm Jenkins, a Philadelphia Eagles player who attended the meeting, said Kaepernick was invited and that he wasn’t sure why the former quarterback didn’t show up.
However, Kaepernick’s attorney released a statement saying Kaepernick was not invited, although he has interest in participating in future meetings.
Official Geragos & Geragos statement, spelling out that the NFL did not invite Colin Kaepernick to attend today’s meetings: pic.twitter.com/ecSPzWag84
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 17, 2017