NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that while the league will not implement a rule requiring players to stand during the national anthem, all players "should stand."

"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," he said. 


“It's also important for us to honor our flag and our country, and I think our fans expect us to do that," he continued. 

President Trump on Tuesday criticized the NFL for not demanding players stand rather than kneel during the national anthem, after slamming players who don't stand for the past several weeks.

Goodell said that the league is trying to get fans focused on football rather than politics.

"What we're trying to do is stay out of politics," Goodell said at a press conference. 

"We're not looking to get into politics. What we're looking to do is to continue to get people focused on football," he said. 

The president ignited a firestorm over the issue of players who kneel during the national anthem before games last month. He said the NFL should fire players who kneel as a means of protesting social and racial injustice. 

Goodell characterized Trump's comments last month as "divisive."

The NFL community responded to Trump with a show of player solidarity. Entire teams locked arms, remained in the locker room or knelt during the anthem at games over the past couple weeks.