National Football League owners, players, commissioner Roger Goodell continue discussion on social activism

Patrick Smith  Getty Images

Patrick Smith Getty Images

The National Football League will try to find a way to move on from the controversial issue of players protesting during the national anthem before games when it meets with team owners in NY this week for a regularly-scheduled meeting.

Lockhart said on Monday that the league was more inclined to seek a compromise that allowed an outlet for the players' political activism, rather than to compel them to stand during the anthem.

His calls for fans to boycott games if players persist is an unwelcome prospect even for the world's highest-grossing sports league and have forced the topic high up the regularly scheduled meeting's agenda.

"The issues that we're fighting against ... they've been here longer than us and we don't expect them to change overnight but we'll continue to work in collaboration and have conversations to see if we can make some change", he said.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick stirred a polarizing national debate in 2016 after refusing to stand during pre-game renditions of the US national anthem, instead choosing to go down on one knee.

On Tuesday players from eight teams, including those who have knelt in recent weeks such as Miami's Kenny Stills, Julius Thomas and Michael Thomas, met with representatives of the NFL Players Association, the commissioner and leading executives from 11 franchises to discuss how they could raise awareness beyond protests.

Other players have subsequently knelt in protest of President Donald Trump's ongoing commentary that players who kneel during the anthem should be fired.

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Following the meeting, the league and union said, "In the best American tradition, we are coming together to find common ground and commit to the hard work required for positive change".

Geragos issued a statement saying the quarterback was officially invited to Tuesday's meetings by anyone on the NFL's side of the table.

National Football League owners have a lot to talk about. But at the same time, we have a responsibility to the communities that we live in, the communities that we come from.

Giants co-owner John Mara and 10 other owners attended the meeting.

Eric Winston, the veteran offensive lineman who is the NFLPA's president, also participated.

"There are a lot of things discussed about how we could move forward", Jenkins said.

"We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues". We have the unique ability to bring people together from all walks of life, whether it's in our locker rooms or it's in our stands. "And with the stage that we have as NFL players and as the league in general we feel a real responsibility to our country, to our communities".

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