Following weeks of upheaval that have featured athletes on their knees, outraged fans and presidential reprimands, NFL players and owners are meeting in New York to discuss the anthem protests that have dominated the season.
Twelve active players, 11 owners, representatives of the players union and the league are in the Tuesday morning discussion, which the NFL hopes ends in an understanding that will largely end the practice of players taking a knee during the national anthem.
An owners-only meeting will follow, where it is expected the language in league guidelines will be altered to say players “should” stand for the anthem to they “must” do so.
Spurred last season by now-unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the kneeling protests are largely aimed at shining a light on racial injustice in the U.S., but many in the stands see it as unpatriotic and disrespectful to the military. The controversy came to a head last month after President Donald Trump harshly condemned the protests in public, calling for players who take a knee to be fired.
Goodell, Baldwin support Senate bill
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin co-signed a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee supporting a bipartisan bill on criminal justice reform.
The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017, introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Oct. 4, would reduce and restrict enhanced sentencing for prior drug felonies, limit mandatory minimums on drug offenses while tightening sentences for domestic abuse and certain opiate violations.
In the letter, Goodell and Baldwin said the bill “would address many of the issues on which out players have worked to raise awareness of over the last two seasons. This bill seeks to improve public safety, increase rehabilitation, and strengthen families. If enacted, it would be a positive step in our collective efforts to move our nation forward.”
CLICK HERE to read the bill, and CLICK HERE to read the letter.
Jaguars apologize for protest
The president of the Jacksonville Jaguars apologized to the city’s top military of veterans representative for a protest by players last month in London, according to WJXT.
In a Sept. 24 game at London’s Wembley Stadium, about a dozen Jaguars players, as well Baltimore Ravens players on the opposing sideline, took a knee during the national anthem. They then stood for the singing of God Save the Queen.
More than a week later, Jaguars president Mark Lamping, owner Shad Khan and team executive Tom Coughlin met with Bill Spann, Jacksonville’s director of military affairs and the veterans department. In a letter sent Oct. 6, Lamping thanked Spann for “candidly sharing” his views on the protest and said the team didn’t fully comprehend how the actions would be seen.
“We owe you an apology and hope you will accept it,” the letter reads.
“In times of social and society unrest there is often talk about the importance of advancing the conversation to understand and ultimately solve whatever challenges or differences may exist. Actually having those conversations, at least in a meaningful fashion, is sometimes difficult. We cannot thank you enough for engaging with us in a discussion intended to chart a path for out continued and successful partnership — and friendship — here in Jacksonville.”