On Tuesday, NFL players, owners, executives, and the NFL Players Association met in New York. The meeting ran longer than expected -- more than three and a half hours -- but it doesn't sound like much got done besides the two sides engaging in a "productive" conversation.
After the meeting, the NFL and NFL Players Association released a statement in which they called it a "productive meeting" and "pledged to meet again."
And that means the two sides did not come to an agreement regarding the national anthem.
If the expectation was getting closure on the anthem issue for the NFL, there will be disappointment. Nothing final today, it sounds like.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 17, 2017
Told that meeting between players and owners was "best the communication has ever been between players & owners." No finality, though.— Judy Battista (@judybattista) October 17, 2017
Apparently, the topic was barely broached.
Main takeaway: It feels like the league and players are making an effort to push the dialogue here off the anthem and to social causes.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 17, 2017
So, don't expect a rule change.
The anthem was a very small part of players' meeting with owners. "I don't think they can make a rule change," says 49ers safety Eric Reid.— Jenny Vrentas (@JennyVrentas) October 17, 2017
Colts S Darius Butler on today's meeting: "It's not going to be fixed overnight, no resolution made right now, but it was a good dialogue."— Jenny Vrentas (@JennyVrentas) October 17, 2017
In attendance on the players' side were retired receiver Anquan Boldin, Colts safety Darius Butler, Chargers left tackle Russell Okung, Dolphins players Kenny Stills, Julius Thomas, and Michael Thomas, Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich, Jets players Kelvin Beachum and Demario Davis, Eagles players Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long, 49ers safety Eric Reid, and Redskins' cornerback Josh Norman.
They were joined by DeMaurice Smith, Eric Winston, and Don Davis from the NFLPA, and Roger Goodell and Troy Vincent from the NFL. The following team representatives attended the meeting: Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, Falcons owner Arthur Blank, Bills owner Terry Pegula, Texans owner Robert McNair, Jaguars owner Shad Khan, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Giants owner John Mara, Steelers owner Art Rooney, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, and 49ers owner Jed York.
Colin Kaepernick said he was not invited.
According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, players weren't happy that Kaepernick didn't receive an invitation.
There was some real anger and dismay among players that Colin Kaepernick was not formally asked to be at meetings today, I'm told...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 17, 2017
The fact Kaepernick wasn't invited here came up in the meetings, with players believing his central role in movement basically demands it— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 17, 2017
La Canfora expects Kaepernick to play a role moving forward.
Have thought for quite a while it was odd Kaepernick did not have a seat at the weekly social activism table w/the NFL that he created...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 17, 2017
Hard to imagine a situation where these talks are occurring b/n owners and players each week for a month now and NFL not invite him to join— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 17, 2017
The meeting came after the first six weeks of the 2017 NFL season included widespread demonstrations during the national anthem. In the preseason, those protests were a continuation of Colin Kaepernick's protest against racial inequality, which he started last year during the NFL preseason. But after Donald Trump advocated for teams to fire players who kneel during the anthem, the protests shifted to a show of unity against Trump, who also pushed for the league to enact a new rule.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now," Trump said on September 22. "Out. He's fired. He's fired."
"You know, some owner is going to do that, he's going to say, 'That guy that disrespects our flag, he's fired,'" Trump also said. "And that owner, they don't know it -- they're friends of mine, many of them -- they don't know it, they'll be the most popular person for a week, they'll be the most popular person in this country, because that's a total disrespect of our heritage, that's a total disrespect of everything that we stand for."
Kaepernick, who remains unsigned, has filed a collusion grievance against the owners. As La Canfora reported, "The influence and power of President Donald Trump will be a central element in" his collusion grievance.
Earlier on Tuesday, Goodell and Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin wrote a joint letter to Congressional leaders offering their "full support" to the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017, which was introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The bill would would reduce minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.