NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made his first public comments about Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand for the national anthem. Goodell’s response proclaimed his own patriotism.
Asked about the issue by the Associated Press, Goodell acknowledged that Kaepernick is trying to affect positive change but indicated he doesn’t agree with the way Kaepernick is expressing himself.
“I support our players when they want to see change in society, and we don’t live in a perfect society. . . . On the other hand, we believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL. I personally believe very strongly in that.”
Goodell added that, “we have to choose respectful ways of doing that so that we can achieve the outcomes we ultimately want and do it with the values and ideals that make our country great.”
By affirming that Kaepernick has the right not to stand, Goodell stands in contrast to the last sports league commissioner to deal with this issue: In 1996, NBA Commissioner David Stern suspended Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf for refusing to stand for the anthem.
But Goodell is ultimately doing what the NFL does in many things, right down to its red, white and blue logo: Wrapping the league up in the American flag.