Widespread protests involving the national anthem continue to dominate the news cycle when it comes to the NFL and, on Sunday morning, players from the Miami Dolphins took a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” However, in advance of Week 4, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reached out to NFL staff from across the country and Adam Schefter of ESPN received word of that correspondence.
Goodell’s letter included the following:
“This past week was a challenging week for all of us, but I am proud of the way our clubs and players have come together and entered into dialog like never before. On Friday, the Broncos released a statement directly from their players. I wanted to share it with you as it provides a narrative of this past week and their hopes for today.”
The full letter from members of the Broncos can be found below but this is an interesting strategy from Goodell in that he can share the thoughts of players without injecting a great deal of his personal viewpoint into the proceedings.
“Last week, members of our team joined their brothers around the NFL in a powerful display of unity.
“It was an emotional time for everyone, including the fans who support us each and every week. As controversial as it appeared, we needed to show our collective strength and resolve.
“Our voices needed to be heard loud and clear.
“Make no mistake — our actions were in no way a protest of the military, the flag or those who keep us safe. We have nothing but the deepest love and respect for those who protect our way of life and the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.
“While there’s no greater country, it’s not perfect. Inequalities still exist, and we have work to do in ALL forms of social justice. We can all do better.
“It starts with us. We need to do our part and use our platform as NFL players to continue driving that positive change.
“Our locker room is one diverse place, and that’s what makes it so special. It’s where thoughtful, intelligent leaders from all different races, religions and backgrounds come together.
“We may have different values and beliefs, but there’s one thing we all agree on:
“We’re a team and we stand together — no matter how divisive some comments and issues can be, nothing should ever get in the way of that.
“Starting Sunday, we’ll be standing together.”
This will do little to quell suspicions from those who oppose Goodell and/or have sharp thoughts on the protests taking place during the anthem. Still, every bit of correspondence from the NFL is newsworthy at this point and it doesn’t appear as if this story line is dipping in prominence at this time.