The Players Coalition hoped to meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Texans owner Bob McNair, and unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Monday in Philadelphia. That won’t be happening. And it’s currently not known when the next meeting between the Players Coalition and the league.
“The league didn’t accept our invitation,” Eagles defensive back Malcolm Jenkins said Sunday, via the Associated Press. “At this point, the ball is in their court. We’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing. Guys are working around the league.”
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Jenkins and retired receiver Anquan Boldin have been in constant communication with the league office, and the two sides remain interested in continuing the dialogue via a face-to-face meeting.
“They want to get back to football; we want to move past anthem demonstrations,” Jenkins said. “But to do that, we need to be able to replace the platform that we have.”
At some point, the players need to regard this issue for what it is — a rare item of significant leverage that can be traded for something else the players want, whether it’s a reformed disciplinary procedure, overhaul or elimination of the marijuana policy, or anything else that the league would be willing to give up in order to give the owners what they clearly want: An end to sitting or kneeling during the anthem.
This where Commissioner Roger Goodell needs to ditch the “enforcer” faςade and become a deal-maker. Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith should get together and develop a joint league/union policy that mandates standing for the anthem, in exchange for something for the players. That’s what former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and the late Gene Upshaw would have done.