NFL’s Goodell: Have to understand other side in anthem protests

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Asked about players who did not stand for the national anthem before preseason games, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday that while the playing of the anthem is a special moment to him, “we also have to understand the other side.”

Goodell made the comments at University of Phoenix Stadium during a 45-minute question-and-answer period with Arizona Cardinals club seat holders. One season ticket-holder, Bruce Olson, asked the commissioner whether players were going to continue to protest during the anthem and if anything could be done about it.

“It’s one of those things where I think we have to understand that there are people that have different viewpoints,” Goodell said. “The national anthem is a special moment to me. It’s a point of pride. But we also have to understand the other side, that people do have rights and we want to respect those.”

 Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett sat on the visiting bench during the anthem before the preseason opener against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, a decision he made before weekend protests by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Bennett has said that the aim of his protest is to make people uncomfortable. In the process, he hopes to spur greater communication, understanding and involvement across racial, gender and socio-economic lines.

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat on a cooler during the anthem Saturday night on the field at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Los Angeles Rams defensive end Robert Quinn raised a first before his team’s game.