Goodell promises “very in-depth discussion” on anthem

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In a Wednesday evening speech masquerading as an interview, Commissioner Roger Goodell said several things about the anthem controversy without saying anything about his plan for making it go away.

Using a stick mic so it would look spontaneous and unscripted (smart money says it was neither), the network owned and operated by the National Football League presented Goodell with a handful of questions that allowed him to recite talking points in a setting different from a memo or a press conference or a Cam Newton-style first-person video.

Ultimately, it seemed to be effort to soften the message that emerged a day earlier, when Goodell’s memo to all teams seemed to indicate that the league would be: (1) giving the players some alternative platform for expressing social concerns; and (2) telling them to stand for the anthem moving forward.

Goodell began by reiterating that the NFL’s current anthem policy has not changed. But he wasn’t asked, and didn’t say, whether the policy could, will, or might change when the league’s owners gather for a quarterly meeting next week. Goodell did say this: “What we’ve had is unprecedented dialogue over the last year with our players, our owners, with community leaders and law enforcement. What we plan to do is have a very in-depth discussion with the players and owners next week to make sure we truly understand the issues and also understand the approach we want to take together with the players to address these issues in our communities.”

The interview with Nate Burleson, a former player and current analyst but not necessarily someone who would be in position to ask tough, probing questions aimed at advancing the story in a meaningful way (due in part to the signature appearing on his paychecks), focused on the work the league has done with players to improve communities, arguably making it part of the olive branch the league will offer to players next week before eventually telling them that they all will be standing for the anthem.

Asked about whether there’s a “sense of urgency” when it comes to getting the situation resolved, Goodell said nothing about resolving the actual situation that has been crying out for resolution since the President called out the league and its players nearly three weeks: “I do think there’s a sense of urgency because we want to get in the communities and make a positive impact. It’s important for us to continue to work together. The urgency that we all feel is continuing the work that we are doing, keeping focused and having a positive outcome for our players, our communities, our teams, our fans and for the leaders in our communities. I believe that urgency is actually beneficial — but this isn’t something that started two weeks ago, this is something that we have been focused on for well over a year. It requires patience and a deeper understanding than we have on a lot of these issues. I know our fans are focused on football, as they should be. We want to get that focus on football. We want to support our players, support our communities, and help make them better.”

That’s fine. But what about the anthem? Goodell said in his Tuesday memo that players should stand for it. That never came up. On Tuesday, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart hinted that the policy could change next week. That never came up. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has on multiple occasions made it clear that he has been misapplying the current policy to his players, and that he intends to continue to do so. That never came up.

Also omitted was perhaps the most important question, if the policy changes: Will it be mandatory or optional for the teams to enforce it? The 49ers, at a minimum, apparently don’t plan to.

Chances are those questions won’t be answered by Goodell before next week’s ownership meeting. And by the time he does his traditional end-of-meeting press conference, the league likely will have what it hopes to be a permanent resolution to the situation — preferably (from the NFL’s standpoint) with the players fully on board with however the league gets to the point where players will be standing for the anthem.

40 responses to “Goodell promises “very in-depth discussion” on anthem

  1. “Also omitted was perhaps the most important question, if the policy changes: Will it be mandatory or optional for the teams to enforce it? The 49ers, at a minimum, apparently don’t plan to.”

    The NFL has pulled draft picks from teams over a claim that some footballs were a little light.

    There is no gray area on the current issue.

    York needs all the draft picks he can get to try and be competitive.

    The loss of multiple picks (one for each game where he violates the policy) would leave SF with no hopes for the future (not that prospects look good at this time even with the picks).

  2. If Roger just took care of the Kap thing when it started they wouldn’t be in this situation. The NFL has a rule, in the book that you have to stand for the anthem. Roger, who is a stooge of the left, but who also would enforce the most ridiculous of rules like paying tribute to 9/11 victims on uniforms/cleats didn’t have the guts to stand up to these goons and let it turn into a tsunami. Guess what? There’s a new sheriff in town who isn’t afraid of Roger and the Fake News clowns and this is only going to get worse for him and the owners. The millionaire + billionaire boys club is getting the full public wedgie they deserve. Hit em’ in the pocket and watch them grovel.

  3. Typical politician/lawyer talk. Speak for half an hour and say absolutely nothing.
    In his defense, however, he will be bound by what the owners agree to. His input will be very minimal.

  4. The policy should not change. While I totally disagree with CK tweets, pig socks and blantent disrespect to our country, I can’t deny that we have social injustices in every race and gender in America. I also believe as citizens, we can make changes by private funding that our government simply can’t. This is a classic example of President Kennedy’s Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. The players have simply stepped up. This was never about being disrespectful or anti-American on the players part, accept for CK.

  5. I am boycotting until all players on all teams stand. These cowards have no clue what our flag and anthem stands for. Coffins come back draped in that flag.

  6. audio2sell says:
    October 12, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Goodell realizes that the players have cost the league millions and are sending it into a death spiral as they continue to disrespect the country.
    ——————————————————————————————-
    And what the players have failed to realize is that their money is a % split of that revenue so when the new TV deal comes in 30% lower the owners will make 30% less from their half but so will the players. Of course their too short sighted to see that and will wait until the effect shows on their paycheck and complain then instead of doing something now to prevent it. Between them and our military dodging President this issue was botched every way possible. I love our country and i will never not stand and remove my hat for our anthem but The Donald screaming patriotism makes me sick because i`ve never had less pride in being American than i have since he became President. If he loved this country he would worry more about what`s going on in California,Houston,Florida & Puerto Rico than the NFL.Americans dying should be more important to him than players kneeling.

  7. The fans can make or break the NFL! The last poll I saw, said 70& of fans disapprove of the players kneeling for the National Anthem. MLB went on strike in the 90’s, fans left, and they have never recovered. If my employer’s rulebook says “should”, you can bet I will do whatever it pertains to. Just enforce your own rulebook, Goodell, & punishments included therein. Problem solved…, unless it’s too late, by about a year or so, as you were refusing to let players show tribute to lives lost on 9/11, a decal to show tribute to police officers who lost their lives in Dallas, & the list goes on……

  8. Hey, I’ve got an idea, since the vast majority of these stadiums these players play in are bought and paid for by the taxpayers and fans why not let us decide?

  9. In depth discussion? On what? Stand, stay in locker room, or be fined/not play. They’re employees, there is nothing to discuss.

  10. as an attorney, Goodell was the logical successor to Tagliabue, who saw all the headaches the next commissioner would inherit (player misconduct, pension/disability liability, CBA negotiation). By many accounts, Goodell has not handled any of The League’s issues (other than the CBA) with any real leadership.

    He has handled them all like an attorney, grey-area language to avoid committal and absolve real direction or responsibility. This is great for business PR/liability, but wholly confusing as a LEADER.

    It would be an interesting study for any reporting / sport commentary site to chronicle Goodell’s career on how he’s handled each situation (Pac Man Jones was his first) and provide analysis.

  11. The 49ers are 0 – 5, all they have is their protest. Oddly enough, several players on the Browns protest too and you know what, they too are 0 – 5. I’d be willing to bet more players on the Giants (0 – 5) will start protesting this week too.

  12. This whole thing is dumb … all tRump wanted to do is create a DISTRACTION from all of his problems, and damn if he didn’t succeed!! If Roger would zip it maybe it would just die a quicker death…

  13. 345snarkavenue says:

    a group of wealthy white owners getting together to talk about racism. this ought to be interesting.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    I don’t know the facts on all the owners, but Shad Khan (Jaguars) and Kim Pegula (Bills co-owner) are not white.

    They are both wealthy – as it is necessary to be wealthy to own an NFL franchise.

  14. If the NFL doesn’t put a stop to it, I want to see a few players using the field to protest something that the media won’t agree with. Abortion, free speech for conservatives on college campuses, against antifa, etc. Something tells me the media would change its tune on player protests

  15. oooooooooooooh…”Very in-depth”

    WOW!

    What a leader and great man. He’s so serious and complicated. The mystery of Goodell really makes me believe him!

  16. gtodriver says:
    October 12, 2017 at 9:30 am

    I don’t know the facts on all the owners, but Shad Khan (Jaguars) and Kim Pegula (Bills co-owner) are not white.

    They are both wealthy – as it is necessary to be wealthy to own an NFL franchise.

    ———-

    i don’t disagree with you, but then, I never said they were ALL white.

  17. Roger needs to just make a call. The league says stand or the league says not standing is ok. One or the other. Rogers problem is he lacks the spine to make a call. Sure there will be consequences one way or the other, but sometimes one has to just pick their poison and drink it. He is instead trying to give lip service to both sides without making a committment, his hope being he can avoid either set of consequences. But all he is accomplishing is that the consequences each way just snowball and get worse and trying to worm between them is more likely to mean he ultimately eats both sets rather than neither. The longer he procrastinates on his devision the worse it will be. He needs to just do it.

  18. None of this matters. One day, every single one of us will be in the dirt and none of our opinions or ramifications of this idiotic discussion will matter.

    PEOPLE. Get it together.

  19. Plain and simple – this is all gonna boil down to the usual factor – MONEY… that will explain why they are all standing – which is so ingenuous that it will still turn many fans off anyway… Nice job NFL… Roger that… I thought Marc Cuban was off his rocker when he said NFL was ready to implode a year or so ago – but not so much now…

  20. Players are replaceable. Fans aren’t.

    Never heard of a season ticket waiting list, huh? Fans are replaceable; in fact, there’s probably a bunch of people who paid money to be in a line to get your tickets the minute you give them up. The only question is, which policy is likely to keep the most fans, and I don’t think the guy with 30% approval barks all that loud.

  21. Open letter to the players and owners

    1) Read the old fable about killing the golden goose that laid the golden eggs.
    2) Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

    When I want preachin’ I go to church, when I want entertainment I (used to) turn on the NFL.

    The 2 DON’T mix, no matter what the SJWs ‘writers’ say

  22. The anthem truthers continue to prove how delusional they are. They cite some unscientific poll about “viewing habits” conducted by the ultra right “Winston Group”, but every poster cites different percentages. They claim to continue posting on NFL websites in pursuit of some quixotic mission to return to “their NFL”. Seriously, these people need counseling.

  23. “The urgency that we all feel is continuing the work that we are doing, keeping focused and having a positive outcome for our players, our communities, our teams, our fans and for the leaders in our communities.”

    Laughing my ass off…😂

    This guy is a shill for 32 billionaires that have completely screwed this pooch on this issue. They can’t possibly be ignorant enough to believe the fans will tolerate this anymore. Mixing politics with their entertainment enterprise for the last 13 months has been a complete disaster.

    The fans have had enough of this insanity and there is no way of getting them back to support the NFL ever again.

  24. “Hey, I’ve got an idea, since the vast majority of these stadiums and paid for by the taxpayers and fans why not let us decide”.

    Great idea. However, that requires being a taxpayer or a ticket purchaser. You’re neither.

  25. cardinealsfan20 says:
    October 12, 2017 at 10:27 am

    The anthem truthers continue to prove how delusional they are. They cite some unscientific poll about “viewing habits” conducted by the ultra right “Winston Group”, but every poster cites different percentages. They claim to continue posting on NFL websites in pursuit of some quixotic mission to return to “their NFL”. Seriously, these people need counseling.

    ———————–

    Or you are the delusional one who lacks all objectivity.

    We have documented fans burning stuff and swearing off the NFL.

    We have calls for boycotts on BOTH sides, not just boycotting the NFL, but its advertisers, and cable stations.

    We have media personalities getting suspended.

    We have scumbag coaches getting amateur sting operations being levied against them with the motivation coming from this situation.

    We still do not have resolution and this thing can get worse and worse.

    If Cowboys players kneel and Jones benches them, we have another escalation. Cowboys fans expect to make the playoffs, if suspensions occur, they are going to blame the players, not Jerry Jones.

    If the NFL passes a stand rule, and players mutiny, we have a potential further escalation.

    This can get far worse then it is right now. This isn’t over.

    To suggest there is no impact on many fronts; advertisers, media sites, NFL, coaches, players is being far more delusional then any ‘truther’.

  26. cardinealsfan20 says:
    October 12, 2017 at 10:27 am
    The anthem truthers continue to prove how delusional they are. They cite some unscientific poll about “viewing habits” conducted by the ultra right “Winston Group”, but every poster cites different percentages. They claim to continue posting on NFL websites in pursuit of some quixotic mission to return to “their NFL”. Seriously, these people need counseling.

    —————
    Which way does DirectTV lean?

  27. I like what Booger Mcfarland said on ESPN. He said if he was still playing, he would encourage every player to Stand, and once they did, he would ask Goodell, “now that we are standing, what is the NFL going to do about our cause”. I thought it was a smart way to look at it.

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