Goodell Met With Owners And Players On Anthem On Tuesday

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP/105.3 The Fan) – NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held a round-table meeting with roughly 25 owners, league executives and players on Tuesday night to discuss the national anthem demonstrations.

New York Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas said the summit at the league’s headquarters in New York lasted roughly two hours and was attended by several of the NFL’s most prominent owners, including John Mara of the Giants, Robert Kraft of the Patriots and Art Rooney II of the Steelers. NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent also attended along with eight players from five teams.

It’s unknown if any Cowboys or owner Jerry Jones participated in the summit.

Casillas said the group talked about what to do to move forward and how to approach the “whole kneeling situation.”

“It was a whole bunch of opinions shared,” Casillas said. “There was nothing we decided we’re going to do collectively. I think it was a very conducive meeting.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the gathering was one of the many conversations that have happened this week within the NFL.

“The commissioner believed with all the owners here for committee meetings it was important to bring in some players and hear directly from them,” McCarthy said in responding to an email from The Associated Press. “While the conversations will remain private, they were very informative and instructive.”

Earlier Thursday, the NFL said the message players and teams are trying to express is being lost in a political firestorm.

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said Thursday the issues have been “overtaken by political forces” following President Donald Trump’s criticism of the league, team owners and players for kneeling during the national anthem.

President Trump, in an interview that aired Thursday on “Fox and Friends,” said NFL owners are “afraid of their players.”

Trump’s criticism of players who kneel during the national anthem sparked angry protests around the National Football League on Sunday, as about 200 players sat, knelt or raised their fists in defiance.

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CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 24: Alejandro Villanueva #78 of the Pittsburgh Steelers stands by himself in the tunnel for the national anthem prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

A week ago, just six players protested.

Most NFL players on Sunday locked arms with their teammates — some standing, others kneeling — in a show of solidarity. A handful of teams stayed off the field until after “The Star-Spangled Banner” to avoid the issue altogether.

President Trump said over the weekend that the players protesting the anthem were “very disrespectful to our country” and called again on owners to stop what he considers unpatriotic displays in America’s most popular sport.

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Members of the New England Patriots kneel during the National Anthem before a game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (credit: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

“This has nothing to do with race,” Trump said. “This has to do with respect for our country.”

The president’s comments turned the anthems — usually sung during commercials — into must-watch television shown live by the networks and Yahoo!, which streamed the game in London. In some NFL stadiums, crowds either booed or yelled at players to stand. There was also some applause.

The Dallas Cowboys displayed a “statement of unity” before their game on Monday. The team, along with the Jones family, locked arms and took a knee prior to the National Anthem for a moment of silence. The team and the Jones’ returned to the sideline and locked arms during the anthem.

“The reason I’m particularly proud of this team is because we all agreed that our players wanted to make a statement about unity and wanted to make a statement about equality,” Jerry Jones said after the Cowboys beat the Arizona Cardinals. “It was really easy for everyone in our organization to see that the message of unity and the message of equality was getting pushed aside and diminished by the controversy.”

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Members of the Dallas Cowboys link arms before the national anthem at the start of a game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 25, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump was quick to jump on social media Tuesday morning and applaud the ‘great anger’ from the majority of Cardinals fans as the stadium filled with the sound of booing at the Cowboys gesture when the initially took a knee before the anthem.

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GLENDALE, AZ – SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys links arms with teammates offensive tackle Tyron Smith #77 and offensive guard Chaz Green #79 during the National Anthem before the start of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 25, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

A few minutes later, the President acknowledged the teams standing for the National Anthem.

On Wednesday morning, President Trump said that he had spoken to Jerry Jones.

“Jerry is a winner who knows how to get things done. Players will stand for Country!”

The Cowboys nor the White House have commented yet on what the conversation entailed.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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