Roger Goodell understands Colin Kaepernick has a right to protest the national anthem if he chooses, but the NFL commissioner was more than clear that the league doesn’t support the player, saying “we believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL.”
It took nearly two weeks to respond to the national firestorm that erupted after the $126 million back-up quarterback refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem before an August 26 preseason game.
“I’m not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said after the game.
When asked on Wednesday about the player’s “protest,” Goodell told The Associated Press that he doesn’t “necessarily agree with what he is doing,” according to The Blaze.
At the same time, Goodell walked a fine line, sounding like a politician — his later father, Charles Goodell, was a U.S. senator from New York — as he pandered to any potentially aggrieved black players, who make up 68 percent of the NFL.
“I support our players when they want to see change in society, and we don’t live in a perfect society,” Goodell said. “On the other hand, we believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL. I personally believe very strongly in that.”
But he did speak of the responsibility NFL players have when using their platform to espouse personal views.
“We have to choose respectful ways of doing that so that we can achieve the outcomes we ultimately want and do it with the values and ideals that make our country great,” Goodell said.
“I think it’s important to have respect for our country, for our flag, for the people who make our country better; for law enforcement; and for our military who are out fighting for our freedoms and our ideals.”
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