Roger Goodell says fans don’t come to NFL games ‘to be protested to’

Roger Goodell had a few words to say about NFL players’ anthem demonstrations during the Bloomberg Year Ahead Conference in New York (Alex Flynn/Bloomberg)

NFL fans come to games “to have fun, to be entertained, not to be protested to.” So says Roger Goodell in an attempt to make sense of how national anthem demonstrations have messed with the nation’s most popular sport.

The commissioner, speaking at Bloomberg’s The Year Ahead Summit in New York, sought to make sense of the latest crisis during his tenure, attempting to place players’ national anthem demonstrations against the backdrop of these divisive times. Goodell, who may work for the owners but has at times regarded himself as the fans’ commissioner as well, admitted that players who kneel, link arms or raise a fist are seeking to raise awareness of social injustice and police brutality.

Like the players themselves, however, he feels that the message they’re sending has been misinterpreted, co-opted into being a dig at the military. Goodell reiterated that he still wants to “see our players stand” for the anthem even as players and owners continue to hold meetings to try to convert their activism into action.

“What we tried to do is listen and learn and understand what our players are actually

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