Sports | October 22, 2017 12:31 pm

NFL National Anthem Controversy Delays Roger Goodell Extension: Report

Commissioner has struggled to handle issue that has divided fans and players.

Kenny Stills
Miami Dolphins' Julius Thomas (89), Michael Thomas (31) and Kenny Stills take a knee as the U.S. national anthem is played before an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday Oct. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

As the National Football League has struggled to come up with a game-plan to handle the controversy surrounding players who kneel in protest during the National Anthem, the issue has had a ripple effect behind closed doors.

And that includes a delay on a contract extension of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, ESPN is reporting.

“The anthem issue has overridden everything — and I do mean everything,” a source told ESPN.

That’s because total viewership has plummeted over first six weeks of the NFL season— dropping 7.5 percent compared to the same period last year season — spurred by outrage from both sides over the league handling of the #TakeAKnee movement.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY on Saturday, April 28, 2007. (Photo by Richard Schultz/NFLPhotoLibrary)

A large demographic of the viewership, including President Trump, sees the kneeling as disrespect towards troops who put their lives on the line for their country.

But advocates say the gesture of defiance first used by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last season is to draw attention to police-involved, fatal shootings of black men and overall racial inequality in the country.

But the controversy continues: On Tuesday in New York, players and owners met to discuss how to work together to fight against social injustice, but it still seems there is a divide. Goodell has said publicly that he would prefer if players stand while the “Star-Spangled Banner” is being sung, while Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has vowed to bench players that kneel during the National Anthem.

Goodell’s deal is still expected to be completed … eventually.