The NFL is in an unusual position.
With the NFL Players Association’s first-ever national anthem protests in recent years, and with the league’s owners increasingly embracing a more active approach to addressing the issue, the league has struggled to find a way to make the protests part of its schedule.
This week, ESPN aired the first live game of the season, a Monday night game between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints, featuring a play by play that featured the anthem protests.
But it’s unclear whether the NFL will use the anthem as part of their programming for the rest of the year.
The issue has become a major talking point during the NFL’s annual owners meetings, which are held in Miami and Orlando.
The league has also struggled with a number of other issues.
Last month, the NFL decided to allow players to boycott the season by voting to end their contract with the players union.
The union has rejected that move, and it has also called on the league to make changes to the anthem rules and play by plays.
And last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league would not play a game on Jan. 10 that was scheduled to be played in Houston.
But with the NFLPA having already voted to end the players’ contract, Goodell could have decided to leave the game as planned.
“We don’t want to put a burden on the players to sit down and have a meeting with Roger and have those conversations,” Goodell said in an interview with The Associated Press.
“So I think it’s a really good thing that we’re not going to have to sit there and have that.”
Ahead of the Thursday night game, Goodell said he’s “confident that we can get it done, and we’ll move forward.”
The league’s position that the anthem is “a distraction” and “unnecessary” could prove to be a major sticking point for the players and their allies, and that could make the anthem issue an even more important issue this season.
The protests started in the wake of police brutality against African-Americans, and their use by some NFL players in recent weeks has caused a stir.
A group of players has protested for the past several days by sitting on the sideline or kneeling during the national anthem before games.
The players say they’re protesting police brutality and racism in America.
The protest has been called “involuntary” by the NFL, and the players are refusing to sit or kneel.
“I’m not going on TV and doing the anthem,” Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu said on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”
“I don’t think it will get me any closer to getting a jersey off.”
A source familiar with the matter told ESPN that the NFL is still waiting on the outcome of the protests.
“They’re not ready to get to a place where it would be appropriate to be doing that, even if they wanted to,” the source said.
The anthem protests have been a topic of conversation between NFL teams this week, with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers leading the way with discussions about how to address the protests on the field.
The NFLPA has suggested that the league play games on January 10, but the league hasn’t yet ruled that out.
It’s unclear how the players will respond to the protest, though some have questioned whether the anthem should be a part of the games at all.
“The anthem protest is an unnecessary distraction to the players, and a distraction to fans,” said NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith.
“Players have already paid the price for disrespecting the flag and country, and I think the anthem protesters are just as guilty.”
The NFL also has faced criticism for the league not making changes to its pregame show and halftime show after it was criticized for a lack of diversity.
It was also criticized for not addressing the anthem protest at the Super Bowl.
“It’s been a difficult season for the NFL.
We’ve had some rough patches and some challenges,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told The Associated Post in an article published Tuesday.
“But we’ve been able to find ways to overcome that.
And this season has shown we can overcome that as well.”