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NFL to allow players to kneel during anthem without penalty

BY JOSH DELK
The Hill

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The NFL will continue allowing players to kneel during the national anthem at games, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday, according to Reuters.

“We spent today talking about the issues that our players have been trying to bring attention to. About issues in our communities to make our communities better,” Goodell said at a news conference following a meeting between officials and team owners in New York.

The meeting included officials from the NFL and the NFL Player’s Association, as well as 11 team owners and 13 NFL players who have protested during the national anthem.

“Today’s discussion with our players was very productive and very important. It reflected our commitment to work together with our players on issues of social justice,” Goodell stated.

According to Reuters, the NFL representatives did not press upon players not to kneel, but instead talked about ways to help them in their activism.

Goodell had previously said that “everyone should stand” for the national anthem, amid growing pressure for the NFL to take an official stance on the controversial protests.

Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles said after the meeting that there was no talk of penalties against players who protested, according to the New York Times.

President Trump has repeatedly slammed the protests as unpatriotic and disrespectful, calling on NFL owners to fire or suspend players who take part in the protests and for fans to boycott games if players continue to kneel.

The president’s ire only sparked more protests, as entire teams began to kneel in protest of racial discrimination and disproportional police violence toward racial minorities.

“Our players are men of great character,” Goodell said at the conference. “They have a very deep understanding and tremendous knowledge of the issues that are going on in all of our communities, and their commitment to addressing these issues is really admirable.”

Goodell said the officials, players, and owners would likely meet again within the next two weeks.

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