NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday players should stand during the national anthem, but refused to force athletes to do so.
"We spent a great deal of time talking about this morning was how much we believe everyone should stand for the national anthem. That's an important part of our policy. It's also an important part of our game, that we all take great pride in. And it's also important for us to honor our flag and our country. We think our fans expect us to do that," Goodell said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Instead, Goodell said NFL officials are focused on working with players "to go and really make a difference in our communities in a positive way," but did not give details.
The NFL announced Tuesday it would not implement a policy that forces players to stand for the anthem.
President Trump on Wednesday criticized the league's recent decision not to mandate that players stand during the national anthem.
"The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem. Total disrespect for our great country!" Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
The debate started last year when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee in protest of police brutality and race relations.
Since the beginning of this season in August, about 100 players have refused to stand for the anthem at the start of games. Teams have taken different approaches to the issue, but the league has no intention of creating policy on the issue.