Commissioner Roger Goodell offered tacit support toward Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, after he drew scrutiny for sitting during the national anthem ahead of Saturday's preseason game versus the Arizona Cardinals.
Lynch, who sat out during the 2016 season, only to unretire this spring, joins Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins in his protest against racial inequality and police brutality. Colin Kaepernick made headlines for his protest during the anthem last season, but has yet to be signed upon opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March.
"We have to understand there are people with different viewpoints. The national anthem is a special moment to me. It's a point of pride. That is a really important moment. But we also have to understand the other side. People do have rights and we want to respect those," Goodell said during a fan event via Mike Jurecki of 98.7 The Blitz.
It's certainly a surprising approach from Goodell, who publicly shied away from addressing protests during the anthem last season.