MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
A highly anticipated meeting today about NFL players protesting during the national anthem did not end in a deal. Still, players and team owners and other officials are largely optimistic about the session. As NPR's Tom Goldman reports, they are also pledging to meet again.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: The anthem issue, with players kneeling, sitting, raising fists to protest racial injustice and social inequality - It exploded in recent weeks after President Trump publicly condemned the protesters. There were hopes Tuesday's meeting would bring a resolution - players agreeing to stop or curtail the demonstrations, the league and team owners agreeing to address the players' issues. The meeting ended without that resolution.
A joint statement by the NFL and the players' union called the meeting productive, focused on how players and owners can work together to promote positive social change and address inequality in our communities. They said they would meet again to continue the work together. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was one of 11 owners in the meeting. He called the session constructive and was quoted as saying, "we heard what they had to say, and they heard us. That's a good thing."
Indianapolis Colts defensive back Darius Butler was one of 13 players in attendance. He told Sports Illustrated it was a good dialogue, adding, it's not going to be fixed overnight. Reportedly, there was minimal discussion about the NFL's national anthem rule. There was speculation there might be a push to force players to stand. Right now there's no such requirement. Indeed, the bulk of the conversation was about the social issues.
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UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) Take a knee against white supremacy. Take a knee against white supremacy.
GOLDMAN: There were protesters outside the protest meeting. They chanted, take a knee against white supremacy. Inside the New York City hotel, two protesters confronted Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who was conspicuously absent from the meeting. He recently took a hard line, threatening to bench players who didn't stand for the anthem. Today, Jones reportedly stopped to listen to the protesters before walking away. Tom Goldman, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.