Can Roger Goodell Make Peace With Kneelers?

While it was initially dubbed a far cry, over the past few days it has seemed ever more likely that Kaepernick may actually have some success with this grievance.

By Patrick Jude

Is it over yet? Not quite, but almost. It’s difficult to believe that we’re entering week 7 of the regular season, and yet so much disarray still revolves around the protests, which began in the pre-season. Yesterday afternoon a massive and diverse group of NFL players, former and current, team owners and league members met to discuss the growing controversy.

The stage was set, and tense to say the least. A wave of uncertainty all but filled the air as unlike minded owners made their way up a steep flight of steps. Fans were gathered outside of the meeting, and unanimously knelt in clear solidarity with the players – and free agent Colin Kaepernick.

Massive names were present, from Atlanta’s Arthur Blank to the notoriously opinionated Jerry Jones. After the meeting it was all eyes on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Instantly a reporter asked Goodell, a known Republican, the burning question, will players be required to stand for the anthem?

Despite the initial reports last week that the league was leaning towards a resounding yes, Goodell did lay down the final verdict in the matter with a no. Of course formalities were kept, and the 11th year commissioner did say that the league recommends their players stand for the anthem, but they are not required to.

The primary question that has arisen is in regards to if exclusive teams may individually punish or bench players. Some are saying this is still a gray area. However, in all likelihood, individual teams will not be allowed to and the clearly over-it-all Goodell will surely lay this notion to rest as well.

The meeting was held just a few days after ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed a personal grievance against the league, claiming that team owners and the league have colluded to continue his free agent status. Kaepernick has hired a big-time lawyer, Mark Geragos, who has promised a smoking gun after retrieving thousands of conversations, which the league was required to turn over.

Though the smoking gun has yet to be released, we do know that Kaepernicks grievance letter cites Trump’s conversations between multiple owners; including Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft who were both donators to Trump’s campaign. An excerpt of the grievance reads, “Owners have described the Trump Administration as causing paradigm shifts in their views toward NFL players”.

While it was initially dubbed a far cry, over the past few days it has seemed ever more likely that Kaepernick may actually have some success with this grievance. While entirely speculative, it isn’t difficult to see one extremely vocal Jerry Jones conversing and finding some agreement with at least one of the other thirty-one teams – like the Dolphins who eagerly passed up a young Super Bowl appearing quarterback for a retired and lackluster Jay Cutler. The Dolphins also joined Jerry in making their proposed requirement for players to stand public.

So, maybe it’s not all over, but the debate within the league is at least. If the president is brought into the grievance debacle however, we’ll be hearing plenty more about the crusade of Kaepernick.


Born and raised in Orlando, and Socialist to the core, Patrick Jude graduated from The University Of Central Florida in 2015. He currently holds a B.A. in English Literature, as well as an A.A. in Jazz Performance from Valencia College. Jude is heavily tattooed, abstains from alcohol and is an avid Packers fan.