National Football League players who kneel during the playing of the national anthem are not disrespecting the U.S. or the flag, according to NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith.
Smith posted his statement in a Monday tweet.
"I look forward to the day when everyone in management can unite and truly embrace and articulate what the flag stands for: ‘liberty and justice for all,” Smith said, according to the statement.
Smith encouraged NFL owners to discuss with their players the issues that caused them to kneel during the anthem.
"As thousands have shown in the past, it takes bravery and courage to speak and confront these issues as our players have, especially when it is in unpopular with some," Smith said in the statement.
Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, said Sunday any Cowboys players who do not respect the flag would not play in upcoming games.
Colin Kaepernick, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, began the issue over kneeling last year by taking a knee during the anthem to put focus on the killing of black men by police officers. Other 49ers have continued the protest after Kaepernick left the team in March, and the protests have spread to other teams and players, according to The New York Times.
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