The NFL is facing criticism over its treatment of players protesting racial injustice and police brutality.
Now, the league’s top brass is trying to tamp down the negative media coverage of the protests, which were sparked by President Donald Trump’s recent comments.
“I think we need to be mindful of that, because there is going to be some criticism of our leadership and of our league,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters Monday.
“I think what I want to do is listen to it and we’re going to continue to listen to that.”
While the NFL did not take a formal stance on the protests during the regular season, Goodell said the league would “continue to monitor the situation and look into what is going on in our country.”
He said that NFL players will be held accountable for their actions.
“We are going to take every step we can to see that our players are held accountable, that they’re held accountable in terms of what they’re doing, and that they are held to account,” Goodell said.
He said it was “very important that we all understand the seriousness of what is happening here in the United States.”
The protests began in October when thousands of players and fans protested racial injustice in the NFL.
The protests have continued, with a rally last weekend in Washington, D.C. by more than 200 players who held signs that read “Not My President.”
Several protesters have been arrested in the days since, including Oakland Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack, who is scheduled to appear in court on Monday on charges of trespassing and resisting arrest.