Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross suggested that NFL players and owners participate in a “march on Washington” during a meeting in October about the league-wide national anthem protests, according to a New York Times report from Wednesday.

Dolphins Owner Suggested NFL March On Washington

Per the Times, the three-hour summit did not yield many substantial solutions on how best to protest the anthem, a move started by free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick in August 2016 as a way of making a statement about racial injustice and police brutality against minorities in the United States. Kaepernick’s protest quickly became replicated by dozens of athletes both within and outside the NFL who began kneeling, sitting or linking arms. After a wave of such protests early in the 2017 NFL season, several prominent politicians including President Donald Trump excoriated players for engaging in the protests, saying they were disrespectful to the anthem, flag and military.

Trump even threatened to issue fines and other penalties to teams who continued to protest “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and said that if he was an NFL coach or owner, he would fire any player who did so.

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According to the Times, the meeting was not particularly productive because most players wanted to discuss why Kaepernick was still unofficially banned from the league, while owners were more interested in talking about the best ways to keep their franchises alive after the series of controversial protests. Kaepernick just received a prestigious award from Amnesty International for his efforts to promote human rights.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly attended the meeting and asked everyone present that the summit stay confidential.

During the meeting, players and owners also reportedly discussed the need for the league to include more influential spokespeople.

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The NFL also released the following joint statement from players and owners, shared by the Times:

“Today owners and players had a productive meeting focused on how we can work together to promote positive social change and address inequality in our communities. NFL executives and owners joined NFLPA executives and player leaders to review and discuss plans to utilize our platform to promote equality and effectuate positive change. We agreed that these are common issues and pledged to meet again to continue this work together.”


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