(WBAY) - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has sent a letter to team CEOs and presidents stating that the league believes "everyone should stand for the national anthem."
Goodell's letter, obtained by ABC News and ESPN, shows Goodell attempting to walk a line between keeping fans and players happy.
"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," Goodell writes.
The letter calls for the topic to be discussed at an upcoming meeting in New York.
"We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us," Goodell says. "We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues."
Goodell has, up to this point, stood behind players who have chosen to kneel or sit during the anthem. Players say the protests are aimed at shining a light on racial inequality in the United States.
Anger on both sides hit a peak when President Donald Trump called for NFL teams to fire players who kneel during the anthem. The president has continued to tweet about his displeasure with the NFL.
Goodell and team executives have taken issue with the president's decision to criticize players for exercising free speech.
Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett has sat during the anthem and been a vocal supporter of the right to protest.
On Tuesday, he tweeted "@nflcommish really bruh? It's hard trying to play both sides of the fence when it comes down to injustice and your money huh?"
@nflcommish really bruh? It's hard trying to play both sides of the fence when it comes down to injustice and your money huh?— Martellus Bennett (@MartysaurusRex) October 10, 2017