The NFL will not force its players to stand during the national anthem despite backlash over recent protests, the league’s commissioner says.
Roger Goodell said he would “encourage” players to stand, but would not punish them if they refused to do so.
The NFL chief said he was “not looking to get into politics” and wished instead to keep the focus on football.
President Donald Trump has criticised NFL stars kneeling in protest against perceived racial injustice.
“We believe everyone should stand for the national anthem,” Mr Goodell told reporters on Wednesday after a second day of meetings with team owners and player representatives in New York.
“That’s an important part of our policy.”
The commissioner continued: “We want our players to stand, we’re going to continue to encourage them to stand.”