Commissioner: NFL needs to ‘move past’ national anthem controversy

NEW YORK — The NFL commissioner is hoping to “move past” the recent national anthem controversy by calling on all players to stand during its playing.

In a letter obtained by ESPN, Roger Goodell 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.”

“We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues,” the letter continued. “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.”

There was reportedly no mention of what would happen if a player refused to stand. However, the league made mention of future elements that “promote the work of our players on these core issues.”

The letter was sent to all 32 professional teams.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked players who kneel during the Anthem to protest mistreatment of black Americans, particularly by police. He has said that any players who refused to stand should be fired.