National anthem issue reportedly delaying Roger Goodell's contract extension

Seemingly every day, there is a new national anthem-related issue that pops up as a story in the NFL world. 

Certain players sit or kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem as a way to draw attention to the issues of police brutality and/or racial inequality. Other players demonstrate in some other way (i.e. by raising a fist) before, during, or after the anthem. Fans get angry because they say players are disrespecting the flag. Other fans get angry at the angry fans because they say they're not respecting players' First Amendment rights. 

Owners either support their players or don't. Players are asked about the protests and demonstrations, the support (or lack of it) from owners, and occasionally, the issues behind the protests, during the week. The president weighs in. The owners hold meetings. The owners meet with the players. The owners hold more meetings. The league supports criminal justice legislation. And on and on it goes. 

This cycle, according to a report from ESPN.com, has so overwhelmingly taken over league business that it is delaying Roger Goodell's contract extension. "The anthem issue has overridden everything -- and I do mean everything," Adam Schefter quoted a source having said.

Goodell's deal is still expected to be completed and has been papered, sources told ESPN, but the process has been slowed while the overwhelming majority of the NFL's attention has been diverted to handling the anthem issue, which has affected TV ratings, merchandise sales and the country's feelings about football.

Had the issue not existed, Goodell's contract might have been completed at last week's owners meeting in New York, sources said. However, because the issue has become so critical to the league, the NFL's compensation committee spent about only 20 minutes Wednesday discussing Goodell's extension, with Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank leading those talks, sources told ESPN.

It was reported by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora in late September that Goodell's extension was being finalized, but it has not yet been signed.   

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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