NFL owners addressing anthem issue next week
WASHINGTON – NFL team owners will consider requiring football players to stand for the US national anthem after President Donald Trump suggested using tax laws to penalise the league for players who kneel in protest of racial injustice.
Trump, a Republican, escalated his feud with the National Football League in a Twitter post asking if the league should get tax breaks while some athletes kneel in protest when the StarSpangled Banner is played at the start of each game.
“Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!” Trump wrote on Twitter yesterday.
The world’s top-grossing sports league gave up its tax-free status two years ago. Its owners are preparing to address the anthem issue at their fall meeting in New York on October 17 and 18, NFL chief spokesman Joe Lockhart told reporters on a conference call yesterday.
“Everyone at this point is frustrated by the situation,” Lockhart said. “The commissioner and the owners do want the players to stand. We think it is an important part of the game.”
The protests, in a league where African Americans make up the majority of players, have continued through the season, with some players taking a knee when the anthem is played and others standing arm-in-arm in solidarity.
Current policy calls for players to stand for the anthem and face the flag, but no player has been disciplined for a protest, Lockhart said. (Reuters)