NFL players' union and owners meet to talk anthem controversy

Football team owners and players discussed the national anthem protests.
8:32 | 10/17/17

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Transcript for NFL players' union and owners meet to talk anthem controversy
Hey everyone on an Abbas here in New York gold what began as a one man protest has now sparked a national debate so this week. An NFL players and owners are meeting right here in New York to try to figure out what could be the path forward joining me here in New York my colleague. Brian Smith who has been covering those owners' meetings in the court this issue for such a long time having insurance didn't. So let's talk about that obviously this is a huge issue for the NFL players protesting police brutality by taking a knee during the National Anthem. What we think is happening at these meetings behind closed doors woman. Couple things we aren't knows that's been happening players met with owners earlier today just individual meetings at the league office and this was a small players small group of owners. That meeting lasted well beyond I think expectations. It was expected that after that meeting the owners would meet and have discussions among themselves that was supposed to start one didn't start until an hour or two later because. Those initial discussions went long and that's a good thing because players have been looking to have a voice with holders in this forum for a long time. And it looks like there was a lot of productive conversation we know that last night. Brought it down one of the players Doug Baldwin junior signed a letter sent to politicians. To trying to endorsed social justice reform that is something that has piqued the players they've been trying very hard to get the NFL more involved in these issues. I don't think the NFL's more willing to do that. There's also been you discussions about where to go forward from here to the idea. That what ways can the NFL sort of use its voice in its power to try to help advance the players issues which are social justice reform. And police brutality trying to cut down. So that we expect these meetings are happening today and it happened in a form where players have a voice with owners of vice Versa is a good thing I think both sides. Certainly and it's also worth pointing out that this is happening while the rest of the country is paying very close attention even talking about a professional sports league. But when the president has waited when the vice president has weighed in how do you think of that kind of pressure it's factoring into these complications. Use I think this was sort of a low level conversation. Until president from made his remarks in Huntsville Alabama. And you look at some of the numbers out there that are very concerning for the NFL since these discussions started to advance. The brand of Vienna now has lost a little bit of it shine a lot of people in this country. Do not agree with players taking a knee but they're the other side a lot of players feel the need to use their form and their power in this. To make a statement about social justice I think they made the statement repeatedly. That this is not about protesting the flag or disagreeing with the military and police officers nothing like that this is about. Taking a stand for what they believe them so what's interesting about this moment in time in his typically UC NFL. And the players' association being on opposite sides here you see all the groups trying to get together to find a way not only to help players advance what they believe in. But also to help the NFL. I don't see move past this issue but really trying to handle this issue to weigh their pieces fans but also. Get the NFL shine back to its brand for those fans that don't agree with players take him. What you said move past but I'm sure there a lot of owners out there and other people who want exactly that to this not to be the focus the county days. Anytime you mentioned the NFL this is the issue that comes up that's right there's a couple. They could do you know when you look at it. They could change the rule and I think some news that we've heard already today is a lot of people are saying that they don't think there will be a rule change right now. The rule right now says that players should stand during the National Anthem. Remember a little while ago Jerry Jones tried points that rule and say hey this is part of the reasoning why I can bench player if he doesn't stand. And the rule doesn't quite say he can do that doesn't mean he can't but I think if you did that it will cause a little bit of an uproar. I think that's one way they could try to move past it but then would that really change anything it looks like with the NFL is trying to do. Is have a productive conversation. I think. Just discussion we'll kind of split people up is if they tried to change the rule right now. And said look you're gonna stand that's what we're telling you to do any half the power to do that but when you do that's a PR nightmare and it's also the players will say you know what. Let's test that theory. And try to fight it would theater film and try to fight in court that's the last and they want I think this is the way to try to get a better path forward. And a little bit less than the wary eye on who takes it near. Mentioning that courts that involvement because you know moving forward we should talk about the man at the heart of this entire discussion. Can't happen it gets officially filed a grievance against NFL owners what what does that mean right now how should we interpret that and understand it in this context. Look first yup that's yourself about the timing he filed this grievance days before these owners meetings you have to wonder if that's why he filed a grievance right now to sort of get that attention. But what he is basically claiming. Is that there was interest in him from different teams and then all of a sudden those teams will go silent that he doesn't make sense that three dozen quarterbacks. That maybe don't have many of whom don't have the skills that he hasn't had been signing he has not. And what he is centered is grievance right now is. Those things lend itself to the factor of maybe there's collusion between teams that's one or two teens getting together a team in the league getting together in saint. Conspired to keep this guy out of the league is the problem is is a very high Bart prove that you've got to have actual evidence you've got to present. Clear preponderance of the evidence that collusion as occurred so I think Colin Capp verdict is a little bit of the backdrop of all of this. But I was civet cat predict remember his initial message. He didn't try to draw attention to himself he sat down. And he said he was sitting down. To make a statement. About social justice. About. Police brutality and a statement was essentially hi Colin peppard it will not stand. In July feel those things have been remedy it. That I think is what's progressing right now so. This collusion claim sort of hangs in the background of this. But I think he'd want the players are trying to do now is try to take away a little bit of the divisive rhetoric. And instead make this about OK how do we accomplish those things in the league even by send this letter last night. A big deal that they're trying to endorse criminal justice reform because that's something they might not have done had the president not made his remarks and had the this whole thing started in first place. It's worth pointing out they thought she put out a joint statement to the play association. And the owner saying they had a productive meeting that focused on how they can work together to promote. Positive social change an address inequality and they're also talking of course about the respect for the country our flag are in summer militaries have all become. Part of this conversation now from prying it strikes me man. These are problems that extends far beyond the NFL but this has sort of become a microcosm this is like the test case of how do we move forward when it comes to talking about these issues that are pervasive across America it. As in you know what's interesting about this I think a lot of people including a lot of fans out there looking at this and saying how can we come to an agreement. That makes people not taken me during the National Anthem and I got news V I don't think that's gonna happen. Not anytime soon I don't think. Players at least from their words right now are saying hey we get this we're not gonna need it we're not gonna Neil again. I I think already it's not about bartering that instead it's about what do we do to affect change so and by the way. Just because a certain group of players even in these meetings say hey you know I wouldn't stand by knew this was happening that doesn't mean that all of the other hundreds of players will agree with that. Ultimately it's going to be hard unless there is a rule in the collective group collective bargaining agreement saying that you can't. To a certain thing it's going to be hard to people by air from doing something if they want to express themselves. And I think that's what's lost a lot of this I think that. People are so focused on how do you force someone to do something. That high or some that that someone out there doesn't want them do it's somebody up there might feel like how do I force a player to stand up I think it's bad they're kneeling. I don't think that's going to happen right now because the focus of the discussion right now. Is to effect change and it's not going to be a change that's going to happen over night. It's been a long time coming a long long way to go frank Smith thank you so much for turning my time. Thanks to all of you for watching as well head over to abcnews.com to get the latest on this story and many others are just download ABC news that get all that news right to your phone. For now I'm on an Abbas you back here since.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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