NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell finally spoke out on the nationwide controversy sweeping his league on Friday, saying all professional athletes and team members should stand for the national anthem during future football games, reports ESPN.
Goodell penned a letter to all 32 owners throughout the league this week, following a month of player protests during the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’ The demonstrations have seriously injured the organization’s patriotic reputation, and has resulted in fewer ticket sales and painful television ratings.
The letter appeared on social media within hours, showing Goodell imploring owners and officials to crackdown on the protests that have swept the sport.
“[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,” he wrote.
“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,” he added. “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.”
Player demonstrations began back in 2016 when San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick “took a knee” during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. President Trump called-out the “disgraceful” players, saying every Americans should “respect” the flag.