NFL commissioner treads lightly on Kaepernick's anthem protest
Goodell says he "doesn't necessarily agree" and wishes for more respectful display
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell disagrees with Colin Kaepernick's choice to kneel during the national anthem, but recognizes the quarterback's right to protest.
Asked by The Associated Press about Kaepernick's decision not to stand before games when the national anthem is played, Goodell said in an email Wednesday: "I don't necessarily agree with what he is doing."
"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."
Goodell noted that NFL players have a visible platform for their viewpoints. With that comes responsibility to use those platforms properly.
"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," said Goodell, whose late father, Charles, was a U.S. senator.
"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."
The San Francisco 49ers quarterback wouldn't stand for the anthem at the team's preseason games, with teammate Eric Reid and Seattle's Jeremy Lane doing the same. Kaepernick has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the many reasons for his actions and said he plans to continue to not stand for the anthem during the regular season.
Kaepernick said Wednesday on his Instagram account that he will donate all the money he receives from his jersey sales to charity to thank fans for their support. He said he's pleased his 49ers jersey has become the top seller in the NFL since his protest became public.
The 49ers open their season at home against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night.
NWSL supports Rapinoe's right to protest
Meanwhile, the Seattle Reign of the National Women's Soccer League are standing by midfielder Megan Rapinoe's decision to kneel during the national anthem in support of Kaepernick.
In a statement Wednesday, the team said it recognizes Rapinoe's action "was offensive to some and a source of inspiration to others."
"We will continue to encourage all Reign FC players to participate in the pre-match ceremony, which honours those who have served and made sacrifices on our behalf," the statement said. "We will also continue to allow players to participate in the pre-match ceremony in a manner consistent with their personal beliefs, reflecting our respect for the rights earned and defended by those fighting for our nation."
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