Roger Goodell: \'No Policy Change\' On National Anthem

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Roger Goodell, NFL owners, and players met for two days in New York to discuss how to get from protest to progress. USA TODAY Sports

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to the media after the NFL owners meeting at Conrad Hotel.(Photo: Catalina Fragoso, USA TODAY Sports)

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NEW YORK – After a series of meetings devoted to social injustice protests that have swept the league, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doubled down on his stance regarding players' demonstrations during the pregame playing of the national anthem.

The league wants players to stand for the anthem, Goodell said, but it won’t be forcing them with any rule change.

“We just had two days of conversations with our owners of which this was a fair amount of the conversation and I think our clubs all see this the same way,” Goodell said Wednesday at the conclusion of the league’s fall meetings. “We want our players to stand. We’re going to continue to encourage them to stand. And we’re going to continue to work on these issues within the community.

"I can’t deal with hypotheticals right now. We’ll deal with these issues as they come up, but for right now, that’s our focus.”

More: If NFL players, owners and executives can have dialogue on social issues, can't we all?

More: Colin Kaepernick wasn't invited, but here's how he was present at NFL meetings

Goodell's statement came one week after Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that he would bench a player who was seen “being disrespectful to the flag."

New York Giants co-owner John Mara said that there was no vote regarding a policy change to anthem procedure.

“There was conversation,” Mara said, “but the policy is not going to change.”

On Tuesday, the NFL hosted a meeting featuring league executives, NFL Players Association representatives, players and franchise owners in which all sides had a platform to express their viewpoints regarding the social issues affecting communities, as well as the measures players are taking to raise awareness.

Goodell later said that he wants the league “to stay out of politics” and that the league’s goal was “to put that at zero” in terms of the number of protesters.

“But we want to make sure we are understanding what the players are talking about, and that’s complex,” Goodell added, before acknowledging that the NFL has been in contact with the league’s sponsors over the protests.

Goodell also said that he has not directly communicated with President Trump, who has repeatedly pushed the league to mandate all players to stand during the anthem.

When asked if teams left the meeting with the understanding that players wouldn’t be disciplined for any protest, Goodell deflected.

“We didn’t discuss that,” he said. “It wasn’t necessary. We had a real focus on making sure all of our teams understood the kind of dialogue that took place and the kind of things that they were interested in getting support. And they were seeking support for the NFL, each club supporting its players and continuing the dialogue that they have had at the club level. I would tell you this, it’s unprecedented conversations and dialogue going on between our players and our owners, between our club officials and between our league, and that is a really positive change for us.”

Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.

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New Orleans Saints players, including running back
New Orleans Saints players, including running back Mark Ingram, kneel before the National Anthem in the first quarter of their game against the Detroit Lions at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  Chuck Cook, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenMultiple San Francisco 49ers players take a knee during
Multiple San Francisco 49ers players take a knee during there national anthem prior to their game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.  Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenPhiladelphia Eagles players Malcolm Jenkins (27) and
Philadelphia Eagles players Malcolm Jenkins (27) and Rodney McLeod (23) raise their fists as they stand with head coach Doug Pederson during the national anthem before a game against the Carolina Panthers, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in Charlotte.  Mike McCarn, AP>FullscreenMembers of the Indianapolis Colts lock arms during
Members of the Indianapolis Colts lock arms during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Indianapolis.  AJ Mast, AP>FullscreenMembers of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the
Members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Indianapolis.  Michael Conroy, AP>FullscreenSeattle Seahawks players sit on the bench during the
Seattle Seahawks players sit on the bench during the national anthem before the start of a game against the Indianapolis Colts at CenturyLink Field.  Troy Wayrynen, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenMembers of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the
Members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the National Anthem prior to a game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.  Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenThe Philadelphia Eagles stand for the National Anthem
The Philadelphia Eagles stand for the National Anthem prior to the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center.  Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenMembers of the Cleveland Browns raise their fists during
Members of the Cleveland Browns raise their fists during the national anthem before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium.  Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenJacksonville Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin (22) and
Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin (22) and Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) cross their arms during the national anthem before a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.  Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenDetroit Lions linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin (44) and
Detroit Lions linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin (44) and linebacker Steve Longa (54) kneel during the national anthem before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.  Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenLos Angeles Rams linebacker Robert Quinn (94) raises
Los Angeles Rams linebacker Robert Quinn (94) raises his fist during the national anthem against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.  Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenNew England Patriots  stand for the national anthem
New England Patriots stand for the national anthem prior to a game against the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium.  Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenMiami Dolphins players kneel down during the national
Miami Dolphins players kneel down during the national anthem before the game against the New Orleans Saints.  Henry Browne, Getty Images>FullscreenThe New Orleans Saints kneeled prior to the national
The New Orleans Saints kneeled prior to the national anthem, then stood and interlocked arms as it played in Week 4 in London.  Tim Ireland, AP>FullscreenOctober 1: New Orleans Saints players kneel before
New Orleans Saints players kneel before standing for the American national anthem prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium.  Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenGreen Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) link
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) link arms with teammates during the national anthem prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.  Benny Sieu, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenChicago Bears players linked arms during the national
Chicago Bears players linked arms during the national anthem prior to their game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.  Benny Sieu, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenThe Green Bay Packers link arms during the national
The Green Bay Packers link arms during the national anthem prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.  Jeff Hanisch, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenCowboys players, coaches and staff take a knee prior
Cowboys players, coaches and staff take a knee prior to the national anthem before playing the Cardinals in Arizona.  Matt Kartozian, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenJerry Jones joined Cowboys players, coaches and staff
Jerry Jones joined Cowboys players, coaches and staff in kneeling before the national anthem in Arizona.  Joe Camporeale, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenOakland Raiders players sit on the bench during the
Oakland Raiders players sit on the bench during the national anthem prior to the game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.  Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenWashington Redskins tight end Niles Paul (84) and linebackers
Washington Redskins tight end Niles Paul (84) and linebackers Ryan Anderson (52) and Chris Carter (55) kneel with teammates during the playing of the national anthem before the game against the Oakland Raiders at FedEx Field.  Brad Mills, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenWashington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder stands with
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder stands with cornerbacks Josh Norman (24), Bashaud Breeland (26) and safety D.J. Swearinger (36) during the playing of the national anthem before the game against the Oakland Raiders at FedEx Field.  Brad Mills, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenGreen Bay Packers tight ends Lance Kendricks (84) and
Green Bay Packers tight ends Lance Kendricks (84) and Martellus Bennett (80) sit on the bench during the national anthem prior to the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lambeau Field.  Jeff Hanisch, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenJustin Houston of the Chiefs takes a knee during the
Justin Houston of the Chiefs takes a knee during the anthem in Week 3.  Sean M. Haffey, Getty Images>FullscreenBills players kneel in protest during the anthem in
Bills players kneel in protest during the anthem in Week 3.  Timothy T. Ludwig, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenThe Seahawks' sideline empty during the national anthem
The Seahawks' sideline empty during the national anthem in Week 3.  Christopher Hanewinckel, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenEagles safety Malcolm Jenkins raises his fist during
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins raises his fist during the national anthem in Week 3.  Bill Streicher, Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenDolphins players kneel with Jarvis Landry during the
Dolphins players kneel with Jarvis Landry during the anthem in Week 3.  Steven Ryan, Getty Images>FullscreenColts players kneel during the anthem in Week 3.
Colts players kneel during the anthem in Week 3.  Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenSaints players sit during the national anthem in Week
Saints players sit during the national anthem in Week 3.  Bob Donnan, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenBroncos Bradley Roby (29) raises his arm as other players
Broncos Bradley Roby (29) raises his arm as other players kneel during the national anthem in Week 3.  Mark Konezny, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenLions owner Martha Firestone Ford stands with head
Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford stands with head coach Jim Caldwell and players during the national anthem in Week 3.  Tim Fuller, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenFalcons owner Arthur Blank stands with players during
Falcons owner Arthur Blank stands with players during the national anthem in Week 3.  Tim Fuller,USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenPatriots players take a knee during the anthem in Week
Patriots players take a knee during the anthem in Week 3.  Greg M. Cooper, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenRay Lewis kneels with Ravens players during the anthem
Ray Lewis kneels with Ravens players during the anthem in Week 3.  Matt Dunham, AP>FullscreenJaguars players kneel during the national anthem Week
Jaguars players kneel during the national anthem Week 3 in London.  Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenSeattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72)
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72) sits during the national anthem as Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls (34) and center Justin Britt (68) stand next to him prior to kickoff against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field.  Joe Nicholson, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenSan Francisco 49ers strong safety Eric Reid kneels
San Francisco 49ers strong safety Eric Reid kneels during the singing of the national anthem before a game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Seattle.  John Froschauer, AP>FullscreenPhiladelphia Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins,
Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins, center, raises his fist as he stands between teammates Chris Long, left, and Rodney McLeod during a rendition of the national anthem before a against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Landover, Md.  Alex Brandon, AP>FullscreenTennessee Titans inside linebacker Wesley Woodyard
Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Wesley Woodyard (59) and defensive end Jurrell Casey (99) raise their hands after the national anthem before a game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn.  James Kenney, AP>FullscreenLos Angeles Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (94) raises
Los Angeles Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (94) raises his fist during the performance of the national anthem before a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Rams in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017.  Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP>FullscreenGreen Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett (80)
Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett (80) shown during the National Anthem before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  Dale Zanine, Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenMembers of the Cleveland Browns kneel during the national
Members of the Cleveland Browns kneel during the national anthem before a game against the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium.  Ken Blaze, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenSeattle Seahawks center Justin Britt (68), and cornerback
Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt (68), and cornerback Jeremy Lane (20) stand near defensive end Michael Bennett (72) as Bennett sits on the bench during the national anthem before the team's preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, in Seattle.  Scott Eklund, AP>FullscreenMalcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles holds his
Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles holds his fist in the air while Chris Long of the Philadelphia Eagles puts his arm around him during the national anthem prior to the preseason game against the Buffalo Bills at Lincoln Financial Field on August 17, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Mitchell Leff, Getty Images>FullscreenPhiladelphia Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins (27)
Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) and defensive back Ron Brooks (33) hold up fists during the national anthem before action against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field.  Bill Streicher, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenBuffalo Bills offensive tackle Cameron Jefferson raising
Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Cameron Jefferson raising his fist during the national anthem before an preseason football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia. Jefferson says he gained the courage to raise his fist in protest during the anthem once he saw Chris Long hug Eagles teammate Malcolm Jenkins on the opposite sideline on Thursday.  Matt Rourke, AP>FullscreenOakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) sits
Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) sits during the National Anthem prior to a NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.  Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenAug 12, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oakland Raiders running
Aug 12, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT:  Matt Kartozian, Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenLos Angeles Rams linebacker Robert Quinn, center, raises
Los Angeles Rams linebacker Robert Quinn, center, raises his fist during the national anthem before a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.  Jeff Chiu, AP>FullscreenLos Angeles Rams defensive end Robert Quinn, right,
Los Angeles Rams defensive end Robert Quinn, right, gestures during the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Los Angeles.  Jae Hong, AP>FullscreenKansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters raises
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters raises his fist in the air during the national anthem before a game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.  John Sleezer, AP>FullscreenMiami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (10) and
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (10) and free safety Michael Thomas (31) kneels during the National Anthem before a game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla.  Wilfredo Lee, AP>FullscreenFrom left, Miami Dolphins linebacker Jelani Jenkins,
From left, Miami Dolphins linebacker Jelani Jenkins, running back Arian Foster, safety Michael Thomas, and wide receiver Kenny Stills kneel during the singing of the national anthem before a game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.  Stephen Brashear, AP>FullscreenSan Francisco 49ers free safety Eric Reid (35), quarterback
San Francisco 49ers free safety Eric Reid (35), quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and outside linebacker Eli Harold (58) kneel during the national anthem while members of the military hold the flag before the game against the New Orleans Saints at Levi's Stadium.  Kelley L Cox, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenSan Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold (58),
San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold (58), quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and free safety Eric Reid (35) kneel during the national anthem before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium.  Kelley L Cox, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenTampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans sat during
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans sat during the national anthem against the Chicago Bears at Raymond James Stadium to protest President Trump's election.  Aaron Doster, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenTennessee Titans players look on during the national
Tennessee Titans players look on during the national anthem prior to the game against the Oakland Raiders at Nissan Stadium.  Christopher Hanewinckel, Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenSan Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold (58)
San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold (58) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) kneels behind quarterback Blaine Gabbert (2) before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi's Stadium.  Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenDenver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54)
Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) kneels during the national anthem before the start of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.  Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenSep 8, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos inside
Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) kneels during the national anthem before the game against the Carolina Panthers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.  Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenSan Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and teammate 49ers free safety Eric Reid (35) kneel during the playing of the national anthem before a game against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi's Stadium.  Kirby Lee,USA TODAY Sports>FullscreenSeattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane sits as the
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane sits as the national anthem plays before a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Oakland, Calif.  Tony Avelar, AP>FullscreenSan Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, middle,
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, middle, sits during the National Anthem before an NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) ORG XMIT: CACC105  Chris Carlson, AP>Fullscreen

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    Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2017/10/18/roger-goodell-national-anthem-protest-nfl-kneeling/776702001/

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