The NFL just sent a message to President Trump that it will not bow down to his request to penalize players who kneel during the national anthem at games.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday that the league will continue allowing players to kneel to protest racial injustice, Reuters reports.
“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.
According to Reuters, 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.
During the meeting, NFL representatives did not press upon players not to kneel, but instead talked about ways to help them in their activism.
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.
Now, the NFL is rallying behind its players, despite Trump’s rebuke.
“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.”