NFL owners will consider rule change requiring players to stand for anthem

The ball will soon be in the court of NFL owners when it comes to sending a unified message on the controversy about players kneeling during the national anthem.

The league said Tuesday owners will consider a rule change that would require players to stand during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.

Owners will discuss the potential change during a meeting next week.

"Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a letter to team executives and presidents. "It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players."

Word of the possible rule change comes on the same day President Trump put more pressure on the league to act.

"Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country?" the President tweeted this morning. "Change tax law!"

The protests began last year when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem to protest what he called the mistreatment of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement.

At a campaign rally in Alabama last month, President Trump urged owners to fire any player who kneels during the anthem.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” the President said.

Since that statement, players on teams across the league - including the Bills - have kneeled during the anthem, while others have stood and locked arms.

Last night, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said any player on his team who does not stand for the anthem will not play in the game.

7 Eyewitness News has reached out to the Buffalo Bills for comment.

Reporter Ed Reilly went looking for reaction today and he spoke with a professor of sports law at the University at Buffalo about why the league is now looking to take this action.

 

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