NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a letter to all 32 teams on Tuesday calling for unity and an end to the divisive protests during which some players kneel or sit during the playing of the national anthem. The anthem protests, which began in 2016 when then SanFrancisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, both sat and later kneeled for the playing of the national anthem during the team's preseason games, has sparked much controversy. According to a report by the Washington Post, Goodell indicated the league's desire for all players to stand during the anthem.

Goodell also called the playing of the national anthem is an "important moment" in his letter. He expressed the league's desire to honor the flag and noted that many fans were upset over the protests. Although Goodell's statement was firm in that all players should stand for the anthem, he also heeded the importance of hearing the message that the players were sending, saying that the league cared deeply about the players and their views on social issues.

Protests of inequality may serve to further divide us

At a time when America seems more divided than ever, many see the anthem protests as means to fan the already heated debate over racial inequality. As reported by CBS Sports, Goodell called the controversy "a barrier to having honest conversations" and suggested that progress in dealing with the issues being brought to the front by the anthem protests is hindered by the spectacle of the protests.

He also suggested that moving past the protests, together with the players, is what the league wants.

Goodell also indicated that the league would meet with team owners to discuss a plan for going forward with the anthem debate, saying that he expects "a full and open discussion" at the meeting with team owners next week in New York.

The commissioner also said that everyone involved with the game should focus on coming together in order to bring positive change within their own communities and that doing so would help protect the game, which has seen significant declines in viewers recently, presumably due to the protests.

He went on to state that he believes that the NFL is "at its best" when acting in a unified manner and that he would encourage the league and owners to meet the controversy in "a unified and positive way."

Finding a unified solution to such a polarizing issue will be difficult

While Roger Goodell's sentiments of unity and positivity concerning the anthem protests are welcome, it's difficult to see how a solution that is acceptable to both sides could be found. Like so many others issues that Americans and, certainly, people all around the world face every day, the controversy over the anthem protests is both polarizing and frustrating.

We look to one another in exasperation, truly mystified at our human inability to see alternative points of view.

We take a firm stand, sure of our position on the side that is right, and refuse to see that many issues are not so black and white, but filled with a palette of grays, each subtly blending into the next.