CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to attempt to lay out out a league-wide policy for the national anthem, writing in a memo to all 32 teams on Tuesday that "Everyone should stand" as the NFL attempts to "move past this controversy."
The Broncos, after their leadership council met with coach Vance Joseph, decided prior to their fourth game that they would stand for the anthem. All players did with linebacker Brandon Marshall holding his fist in the air as the lone individual expression. Marshall knelt for the first eight games last season to raise awareness of social injustices, which created dialogue that helped changed the Denver Police Department's use of force policy.
Players, for the most part, have steered clear of the anthem topic following the Broncos' unified message. Cornerback Aqib Talib was asked Wednesday what his reaction would be if the commissioner required players stand.
"I stand anyway. I mean it wouldn't affect nothing I do. I stand anyway. I don't feel like taking a knee and all that, man, ... It's not solving the problem in my eyes. There's definitely a problem out there, but taking and a knee and all that," Talib said, before continuing, "I stand for the people who go to war for us. (President) Trump may make us go to war again. And those guys may go to war again. And I stand for them and all that they do."
Goodell's memo Tuesday showed the league trying to find a balance between supporting its players' causes, while not upsetting its fans. Goodell said he is "very proud of our players and owners who have done the hard work over the past year to listen, understand and attempt to address the underlying issues within their communities" and expressed respect for players' "opinions and concerns about critical social issues. ... Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. We want to honor our flag and our country and our fans expect that of us."
A previously scheduled meeting next week in New York will allow Goodell to discuss the issue with owners. President Trump, who galvanized players in protest before Week 3 games after using a derogatory term when insisting players should be fired for not standing, praised Goodell's memo.
"It's about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem -- RESPECT OUR COUNTRY."
Goodell has not demanded players stand. The league, instead, is looking for solutions to bring the players and owners together on this issue.