NFL team owners plan to talk next week about whether to alter the league's rules to require players to stand when the national anthem plays.

The discussion comes after President Trump thrust the issue back into the spotlight several weeks ago.

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart told reporters in a conference call Tuesday owners will discuss the policy on players standing for the national anthem during the Fall League Meeting on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18 in New York City and decide whether to change the current rules. Lockhart said the team owners will take into consideration players' opinions on national anthem protests.

"I fully expect this to be front and center on the agenda," he said.

The NFL game operations manual currently states "all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem," and says "players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking" when the "Star-Spangled Banner" plays.

But a change in the NFL's rules governing the national anthem could mean players will be punished for protesting or kneeling.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also sent a letter to team owners on Tuesday ahead of next week's two-day meeting and warned the "current dispute over the National Anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country."

"Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us," Goodell said in the letter, obtained by ESPN.

"We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players."

Trump first brought the issue of NFL players kneeling back to the forefront when, at a rally in Alabama last month, he said NFL owners should fire any "son of a bitch" who disrespects the flag.

The president has since railed against the league on Twitter, and urged fans to boycott games until the NFL fires or suspends players who don't stand during the national anthem. Trump also encouraged the league to implement a rule prohibiting players from kneeling.

Trump's most recent tweets about the NFL came Tuesday morning, when he questioned why the NFL was receiving tax breaks.

"Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!" the president tweeted.

Lockhart told reporters the NFL doesn't receive any special tax breaks. However, many NFL stadiums are financed with public money.