NFL, NFLPA meet to 'discuss important issue of social activism'
Tuesday's joint statement comes as the league and players, represented by the NFLPA, grapple with the issue of protests before games.
The NFL and the Players Association said they met "to discuss the important issue of social activism" on Tuesday.
The issue of kneeling during the American national anthemÂ as a way for players to protest what they consider injustice aimed at people of colourÂ began last season with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
It became a hot-button topic this campaign afterÂ United States president Donald Trump criticised the NFL and itsÂ players who kneeled in protest during the anthem.
Subsequent games have seen varying levels of protest or shows of solidarity by players and teams, some before the anthem and some during it.
In a statement, the NFL and the NFLPA said:" The NFL and NFLPA met today to discuss the important issue of social activism by NFL players.
"Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith, Eric Winston, Robert Kraft, J Mara, Art Rooney and other player leaders engaged in a productive conversation.
"We are all committed to an ongoing dialogue."
With Tuesday's statement, the NFL and its players appear to acknowledge that the issue is real, ongoing and the sides seem intent on reaching a middle ground in which the league is not attackedÂ by angry fans yet the players feel they are free to express their concerns about social issues.