NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has outlined how the league, its teams and players will proceed in the current dispute over protests during the 'Star-Spangled Banner'.
In a letter sent to team chief executives and presidents, Goodell says the league has developed a plan to be presented at next week's league meetings with the goal being consistency on a league level and work on the team level in addressing the ongoing controversy.
It appears under the league's plan, per the memo, players would be offered an alternate platform for voicing their opinions on social issues in return for their standing during the anthem.
Under the subject line "Re: Fall Meeting/National Anthem," Goodell opens with the words, "We live in a country that can feel very divided.
"The current dispute over the National Anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country."
Goodell appears to try and walk a line in the letter between teams' desire for players to stand during the anthem ("Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem") and players' First Amendment right to protest ("We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues.")
Writing that he expects a "full and open discussion" of the issues next week in New York, Goodell closes with, "The NFL is at its best when we ourselves are unified. In that spirit, let's resolve that next week we will meet this challenge in a unified and positive way."