Miami Dolphins players, NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell and North Miami police officers met with students Tuesday at North Miami Middle School and Arch Creek Elementary School to promote community relations.
The meeting came on the same day Goodell released a memo to all 32 league owners saying that players should stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner."
In addition to chatting with students, players Kenny Stills, Julius Thomas and Michael Thomas, Miami Dolphins President and CEO Tom Garfinkel – along with members of the NFL and Dolphins staff – went on a ride-along with police and had a round table discussion about social issues that players are protesting during the singing of the national anthem.
The players, who have taken a knee during the anthem, stressed to police that despite what critics of the protest, including President Donald Trump, may say, they aren't protesting as a means to disrespect the troops, the American flag or law enforcement officers.
The protest, which began in 2016 when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the anthem, is about drawing attention racial injustice and police brutality, especially toward black Americans.
Kaepernick began kneeling after speaking with military veteran and former Seattle Seahawks player Nate Boyer. During their talk the pair agreed that kneeling during the anthem would be a more respectful form of protest.
"That’s what the players stressed, that it is a positive thing that they are trying to push forward," North Miami interim police Chief Larry Juriga said.
During the meeting, the groups found common ground.
"They were focusing on education, justice reform and community engagement," Juriga said.
He said police focus on similar issues.
"We want community engagement," Juriga said. "We want to make sure things are done right and by going out there with the players to the schools and to the community they saw that we’re together on this."
While the team and police said they had a positive meeting, the issue of the protests remains ongoing within the NFL.
The memo Goodell released said: "Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues."
With that Goodell made it clear that he doesn’t want players kneeling.
He is planning on meeting with owners about the memo.