The National Football League announced on Friday that it wants to use its platform to raise awareness for social justice issues and that it does not plan to mandate that players stand for the U.S. national anthem.
Commissioner Roger Goodell and the head of the NFL Players Association are expected to meet with team owners this next week in New York where they will discuss possible solutions on how to end the national anthem protests, Reuters reported.
“(Goodell) has a plan that he is going to present to owners about how to use our platform to both raise awareness and make progress on issues of social justice and equality in this country,” NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said on a conference call.
“What we don’t have is a proposal that changes our policy, we don’t have something that mandates anything,” Lockhart continued. “If that was the case I doubt the head of the NFLPA would have put a joint statement out with us.”
As NFL ratings continue to plummet — down nearly 10% from last year — news networks are increasingly choosing not to show the national anthem because of protests by players, which often elicit boos from fans.
Thursday’s matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles, despite being a strong matchup between two high-profile teams, was down 5% from the previous week’s Thursday night matchup.
In addition to the tight score and dramatic final few minutes, the game included some drama in the stands, where a fight broke out between a young man and an elderly gentleman after he asked the young man — who was standing in front of him — to sit down because he couldn’t see.
The young man struck him several times in the face and as he and his girlfriend walked away, the stadium erupted in boos, the New York Post reported. WATCH: