Roger Goodell: NFL needs to ‘to move past this controversy.’

FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2016, file photo, from left, San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, center, and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif. What started as a protest against police brutality has mushroomed a year later into a divisive debate over the future of Kaepernick who refused to stand for the national anthem and now faces what his fans see as blackballing for speaking out in a country roiled by racial strife. The once-rising star and Super Bowl quarterback has been unemployed since March, when he opted out of his contract and became a free agent who could sign with any team. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

(Associated Press) – NFL owners will meet next week to consider changes to a game manual that says players “should” stand during the national anthem, a guideline that the league has left to the discretion of players who kneeled in larger numbers after criticism from President Donald Trump.

Commissioner Roger Goodell told club executives Tuesday in a memo obtained by The Associated Press that the anthem issue is dividing the league from its fans. He said the NFL needs “to move past this controversy.”

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said the policy will be “front and center on the agenda” when owners meet in New York next Tuesday and Wednesday.

The movement started by former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick last season had mostly subsided when Trump told a rally in Alabama last month that owners should get rid of players who kneel during the anthem.

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