Roger Goodell’s memo to teams regarding national anthem

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[On October 10, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a memo to NFL teams regarding plans to discuss the national anthem and player protests at next week’s league meetings. That memo appears in full below.]

MEMORANDUM
To: Chief Executives
Club Presidents
From: Commissioner Goodell
Date: October 10, 2017
Re: Fall Meeting/National Anthem

We live in a country that can feel very divided. Sports, and especially the NFL, brings people together and lets them set aside those divisions, at least for a few hours. The current dispute over the National Anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country.

I’m very proud of our players and owners who have done the hard work over the past year to listen, understand and attempt to address the underlying issues within their communities. At our September committee meetings, we heard directly from several players about why these issues are so important to them and how we can support their work. And last week, we met with the leadership of the NFLPA and more players to advance the dialogue.

Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. 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.

Building on many discussions with clubs and players, we have worked to develop a plan that we will review with you at next week’s League meeting. This would include such elements as an in-season platform to promote the work of our players on these core issues, and that will help to promote positive change in our country. We want to ensure that any work at the League level is consistent with the work that each club is doing in its own community, and that we dedicate a platform that can enable these initiatives to succeed. Additionally, we will continue the unprecedented dialogue with our players.

I expect and look forward to a full and open discussion of these issues when we meet next week in New York. Everyone involved in the game needs to come together on a path forward to continue to be a force for good within our communities, protect the game, and preserve our relationship with fans throughout the country. The NFL is at its best when we ourselves are unified. In that spirit, let’s resolve that next week we will meet this challenge in a unified and positive way.

56 responses to “Roger Goodell’s memo to teams regarding national anthem

  1. No way. He has every right to do this, but saying that you should do something and actually doing it are completely different things. Why doesn’t Mr. Goodell lay out what the league plans to do to address and combat racial inequalities in our society first. Then after that, tell the players they have to stand. Otherwise, this is just a campaign to sweep this under the rug without him looking bad to one of the vocal groups in this controversy. If he forces the players to stand after all of this and does nothing, then the NFL loses. If he allows it to continue, they also lose. The hard work is to try to help with the issue and make the league look patriotic as a whole.

  2. That’s a fair compromise. Players stand for the Anthem and the NFL creates a platform for players to address and effect change on social issues deemed important..

  3. Translation: Fans pay all of our salaries and are tired of politics and causes distracting from the game that they tune into and enjoy. If we don’t stop kicking and stomping on the Golden Goose we will eventually kill it. I know that as a commissioner I am powerless and am looking at you, the owners, to get your employees at least pretending to care about the fans.

  4. I always feel Roger is in a castle surrounded by nodding heads. Guy is always late to the issue , never mind actually being prepared and anticipating problems before they blow up in his face. NFL needs a new leader. This guy always shows up in left field with a hockey glove. You lost me NFL and I used to fly to a game every year and stand for a flag that isn’t mine (I’m Canadian) and the military flyover Gaines me goosebumps. How about respecting the paying fans over the spoiled babies

  5. “I expect and look forward to a full and open discussion of these issues”

    Pretty open he is, failing to mention that they are doing this because they are losing money.

  6. zinnsand21 says:
    October 10, 2017 at 1:55 pm
    That’s a fair compromise. Players stand for the Anthem and the NFL creates a platform for players to address and effect change on social issues deemed important..

    ———
    It’s very fair, and at first that’s where I thought he was going. But then the letter ended before it got there.

  7. Again showing zero self awareness, Goodell issues a statement basically asking the players for a favor in order to stop making him and the NFL take heat on this. Goodell, the same guy who would turn on you in a second without real evidence and attempt to pummel you with Article 46. He has zero credibility, this statement only shows that some owners and sponsors are annoyed. Hope the NFLPA says, “sure, we’ll all stand, if you just guarantee all player contracts and get rid of Article 46 and ensure good health care for the entirety of every players’ life”.

  8. Roger should have done this from day one. This quote from Goodells letter is the core of the problem. “erode the unifying power of our game”. Goodell and the owners that he is a puppet for think they are the game, they are the unifying power, and the fans mean nothing. The power is in the hands of the fans and the players can protest with free air time, the networks can spin things not to
    disrupt viewership, the owners can stand behind the player union to avoid a work stoppage, but its the fans that pay for it all. the fans aren’t considered apart of today’s NFL.

  9. “The NFL is at its best when we ourselves are unified. In that spirit, let’s resolve that next week we will meet this COSTLY challenge in a unified and PROFITABLE way.”

    Edited that last sentence to reflect reality

  10. I actually think a league platform to help player messaging/impact could be an excellent way forward. Think about the dialog now in the press. Who stood, who didn’t? How many stood? Did they raise a fist? Did they link arms? Mostly lost is the message about what players are upset about and how fans who identify with the player’s message can contribute.

    The press really gets an F for their coverage of the protests. Given the coverage, the players get a C for ticking off some fans without effectively communicating their issues of choice. The NFL, which also gets a C for not really caring about anything but the bottom line, doesn’t want to lose fans and so are, at least temporarily, willing to do something to make this go away.

    Soooooo…. hopefully the players can use their leverage with the NFL to give them a ongoing platform to communicate useful messages on social causes to interested fans. Win, Win and the press can actually add some value by communicating some of that messaging. The added benefit is that I DONT NEED TO READ ANYMORE ABOUT THIS!!!!

  11. Kneeling for the anthem has become hitting like on Facebook, it doesn’t make you brave or an activist. It’s a trend. And all the kids in high school and college following suit during their anthems is just proof of that.

  12. “I expect and look forward to a full and open discussion of these issues”

    If you are open to discussion of the issue, then shouldn’t you acknowledge the protest for what it is, a call to attention of racial inequality and police brutality?

    The barrier to conversation is Roger’s, and Jerry’s, and Donald’s, and Mike’s … insistence on taking issue with the protest and marginalizing those trying to speak up for perceived injustice rather than being willing to listen and address the issue. Until the issue is acknowledged, any effort to stop the protest is an effort to silence the voices of those brave enough to try to make this nation stronger.

  13. “I expect and look forward to a full and open discussion of these issues”

    Pretty open he is, failing to mention that they are doing this because they are losing money.

    **********************************

    Trust me they’re not losing money. Might not be making as much but definitely not losing.

  14. deadspindeluxe says:
    October 10, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Why doesn’t Mr. Goodell lay out what the league plans to do to address and combat racial inequalities in our society first.
    ——————-

    They already have the Rooney Rule, so what more do you want?

    The NFL isn’t going to do anything to address or combat racial inequality. They can’t even handle domestic violence.

  15. It’s way too late for this. Why? Because this has been going on long enough to show us what the black players are really thinking. What kind of character they have. And it’s ugly.

    Time was last year to crush this.

  16. Sure stop the kneeling. That will make us forget all the racist comments black players – an blacks in general in forums like this one – have made over the last couple of months.

    No. You can’t unsee and you can’t unhear the vitriol. The racial indignation coming directly from the players we’ve supported loudly over the years. The accusation that, after SIXTY YEARS of doing all kinds of things to “make it right,” us whiteys are told that it hasn’t made a lick of difference. So why try? It’ll never be enough.

    THAT is the only impact they’ve had on this country with this protest and all the verbal bile that has come with it. Nothing but more and more division.

  17. I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

    Nothing about race, nothing about social injustice or gender. Our Republic is not perfect nor will it ever be, but, we try our best to get it right one issue at a time.

  18. So all you people who think these protests are a great idea.
    What are you ideas to solve the problem?
    And how to you come to a place where you are satisfied so you end the protest?

    My point is its easy to complain, but harder to find solutions. ( And my guess the answer will be “lets have a conversation” which is BS for I dont know I just want to say I a better person than you.

    And an protest without a ransom is just a show.

  19. this anthem stuff isn’t losing the fans its the product on the field that is junk terrible quarterbacking cant play aggressive defense and flags on every freaking play the flag throwing is ridiculous

  20. ringheadcrusher says:
    October 10, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    It’s way too late for this. Why? Because this has been going on long enough to show us what the black players are really thinking. What kind of character they have. And it’s ugly.

    Time was last year to crush this.
    ———————————————————————-
    Uh.. dude white and black players alike have kneeled. What exactly are you saying?

  21. Personally I feel the protests are nothing but TV drama at this point. Nothing is going to change with a player taking a knee other than some TV face time.. it takes discussion and a plan of action to enact change..

  22. I can’t believe some people/Trump supporters are boasting that “Trump wins”.

    Look, when Americans lose any form of their freedom……we all lose. As an American you should be fighting for the right of every citizen. We can’t allow anyone in a positions of power to tamper with our freedoms

    In America the Head od State is a public servant who’s salary is paid by taxpayers; not a dictator who dicatates to us what to do.

  23. when your entire protest is based on lies, it’s no wonder the NFL is taking it in the shorts from the fans. If the protesters could at least be honest it would go a long way is getting people to at least listen to them. As such, they aren’t and we don’t.

  24. “This would include such elements as an in-season platform to promote the work of our players on these core issues” …………. only in the fake world of media and sports do employers structure a political platform for their employees …. In the real world your political stance is not a part of the work place …… You guys are off 4 months a year, that’s when you can create your own platform..

  25. Panoramic Wifi says:
    October 10, 2017 at 2:10 pm
    zinnsand21 says:
    October 10, 2017 at 1:55 pm
    That’s a fair compromise. Players stand for the Anthem and the NFL creates a platform for players to address and effect change on social issues deemed important..

    ———
    It’s very fair, and at first that’s where I thought he was going. But then the letter ended before it got there.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Groundwork. There is a reason this is now viewable by the players and the public at large. I am fairly certain the league will make some sort of mandate, whether at the league level in the game operations manual or at the individual team level via owner decree subject to discipline if not followed. Make no mistake, whatever happens the owners will be united. Most of the letter outlines certain alternatives to the anthem protest which would be unnecessary if the plan was to allow anthem protests to continue. Personally, i expect the league to drop the mandate that all players be on the field for the anthem but mandate those that are on the field will show proper respect and represent the teams and league in an appropriate manner. That should suffice the fans against the protests and eliminate any of the free speech or oppression whining while giving the players themselves the power of choice.

  26. jsuch2 says:
    October 10, 2017 at 2:24 pm
    “I expect and look forward to a full and open discussion of these issues”

    Pretty open he is, failing to mention that they are doing this because they are losing money.

    **********************************

    Trust me they’re not losing money. Might not be making as much but definitely not losing.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    For business people with billions of dollars those two statements mean exactly the same thing. Not making as much money as you could be making equals losing potential profits. Potential profits drive most of their decisions.

  27. Matt says:
    October 10, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    “The barrier to conversation is Roger’s, and Jerry’s, and Donald’s, and Mike’s … insistence on taking issue with the protest and marginalizing those trying to speak up for perceived injustice rather than being willing to listen and address the issue.”
    —————————————————————————————————

    They listened. They listened and watched, and then disagreed.

    Just because the answer is “No” doesn’t mean they weren’t heard.

  28. Way to get 100% compliance: No standing = No playing (without pay)
    Way to get 200% compliance = Sending kneeling players to participate in Afghanistan football (soccer) league for one year in honor of Pat Tillman who fought for our flag.

  29. @deadspindelue, Why doesn’t Mr. Goodell lay out what the league plans to do to address and combat racial inequalities in our society first. Then after that, tell the players they have to stand.
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    Not the NFL’s job to do this. I’d rather see the owners buy 1 way tickets for these players ANYWHERE but here. They will then see just what it is like here!

  30. Players start kneeling during the National Anthem
    Other players defend the decision
    Owners defend the players
    Owners kneel or hide during the National Anthem
    Mainstream media praises the players and owners

    The people hate it
    The people boycott or lose interest
    The owners cave
    The people are not impressed
    The owners, league, and mainstream media are permanently damaged

  31. ringheadcrusher says:
    October 10, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Sure stop the kneeling. That will make us forget all the racist comments black players – an blacks in general in forums like this one – have made over the last couple of months.

    No. You can’t unsee and you can’t unhear the vitriol. The racial indignation coming directly from the players we’ve supported loudly over the years. The accusation that, after SIXTY YEARS of doing all kinds of things to “make it right,” us whiteys are told that it hasn’t made a lick of difference. So why try? It’ll never be enough.

    THAT is the only impact they’ve had on this country with this protest and all the verbal bile that has come with it. Nothing but more and more division.
    ——-
    But you’re blind to 100% of the “comments” made by the MAJORITY of commenters who’ve for months now have written their obvious racial bias against blacks. You’re simply another one of them…obviously.

  32. skawh says:
    October 10, 2017 at 6:16 pm
    The racists “win.” They could care less unarmed blacks are being killed by police.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    You are showing your lack of intelligence two different ways here. First, by claiming people you disagree with are racists. Second, by claiming they could care less. Hint: that means they do care. I believe the phrase you were looking for is “They couldn’t care less.”

    That said, what exactly are the kneelers doing about it. They believe unarmed blacks are being hunted down and killed by police…so they kneel? That is not doing anything more than cryptically showing their opinion. It is not action nor is it a solution. It is no different than me questioning your intelligence in this post. I have made known my opinion and that is all. That does not make it so and I haven’t really done anything to try to make you “smarter”. 😉

    I don’t really think you are dumb. I was simply trying to make a point–even if i choose to do it again next week.
    (That sounds very similar to “We are not disrespecting the flag. We are just trying to start a conversation”, doesn’t it?)

  33. How about stop playing the anthem all together? I mean Francis Scott Key ripped it off from “To Anacreon in Heaven” which is a drinking song and was a slave owner.

  34. skawh says:
    October 10, 2017 at 6:16 pm
    The racists “win.” They could care less unarmed blacks are being killed by police.
    ———————————
    You want more Trump? Because that’s exactly how you get more Trump. The left throws that word around every day and it doesn’t faze people anymore. All it does is put your argument in a nice little box and thrown in the garbage.

  35. skawh says:

    But you’re blind to 100% of the “comments” made by the MAJORITY of commenters who’ve for months now have written their obvious racial bias against blacks. You’re simply another one of them…obviously.

    ————————————————————————————————————————————-
    Yes. And thank you for saying it. I literally feel ill after reading some of the comments on this page.

  36. It’s actually pretty straight forward, the League should follow its own rules:
    “‘The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition … It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.’

    Pages A62-63 of the NFL League Rulebook.

    It doesn’t get anymore straightforward than that.

  37. Nothing in the memo about raising a fist? That will be the next trend you watch. If I can’t stand, I’m going to try something else, all while losing more and more fans who are beyond turned off.

    It’s equivalent to telling a 5yr old to stop messing with his brother…then holds his finger an inch away from his face screaming, “I’m not touching you!”.

    What happened NFL? The brand feels so different it’s sad. NFL is slowing developing into the NBA.

  38. The geanie is out of the bottle. Goodell allowed the “sacred” platform of the NFL be “used” by players to voice their social issues. A disaster. Goodell only wants to preserve the golden goose…he doesn’t really care. If he did, he wouldn’t allow teams to relocate. He’s focusing on the short term rather than the long term viability of the league. “Get the money and get it now.”

  39. Couldn’t repeal healthcare, key staffers quit every 2 weeks, can’t build a wall, and getting shown up by rocket man on the regular… I guess he finally got a win.

  40. deadspindeluxe says:
    October 10, 2017 at 1:53 pm
    No way. He has every right to do this, but saying that you should do something and actually doing it are completely different things. Why doesn’t Mr. Goodell lay out what the league plans to do to address and combat racial inequalities in our society first….

    ————————————

    Because the NFL is a business and not responsible for fixing society.

    Now, fixing society sure as hell needs to happen (bet we disagree what needs to be fixed, let alone how), but we can’t even get two political parties to agree on how to fix society (they they actually have power to affect change), let alone 300 million people.

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