NFL Player Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and other members of player leadership will be present at a league-wide meeting next week to discuss the ongoing controversy surrounding players who protest during the national anthem, according to a statement issued on Wednesday.
"There has been no change in the current policy regarding the anthem," a joint written statement by the NFL and NFLPA read, referring to a memo Commissioner Roger Goodell sent on Tuesday to all 32 teams saying that "everyone should stand" during "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The statement added that the agenda for the Fall League Meeting on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18 in New York City, originally scheduled for team owners, would include "how to make progress on the important social issues that players have vocalized."
The NFL game operations manual currently stipulates that "all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem" and "players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking."
A change in the league's rules could mean that players who kneel or sit during the anthem may be open to punishment.
"Everyone who is part of our NFL community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem and our military, and we are coming together to deal with these issues in a civil and constructive way," the statement continued.
President Trump reignited the issue of NFL players refusing to stand during the anthem to protest police brutality when, at a campaign rally in Alabama in October, he said NFL owners should fire any "son of a bitch" who disrespects the U.S. flag.