Way We Hear It: President Trump backing down the only way to defuse NFL player protest situation By HUB ARKUSHSept. 27, 2017 The way we hear it, the NFL’s National Anthem problem isn’t going away soon, and there is no clear consensus among owners and the league office as to how to deal with it.The way we hear it, the NFL’s National Anthem problem isn’t going away soon, and there is no clear consensus among owners and the league office as to how to deal with it. We know facts are rare in this conversation, but this is as close as we can get: After polling all 32 teams, we believe there were 11 players in the NFL who staged some kind of clear protest during the Anthem over the second weekend of the NFL season.Following President Donald Trump’s verbal assault on the Friday night prior to Week 3, over 250 players took a knee, raised a fist, stayed in the locker room or gave some other clear sign of discontent – almost all of them with their bosses, be they head coaches, general managers or team owners, joining them.We offer no comment – at least for now and in this space – on the right or wrong of it all, we’re just reporting that there are conversations going on at the league office and in the front offices of all 32 teams about what should come next, and the way we hear it, there are no solid ideas yet.One NFL GM told Pro Football Weekly on Monday, “I hate this! Of course I don’t want to see anyone on my team or anyone I’m associated with insult a single fan of our football team, but this isn’t a close call. “Not only is it clearly the right of our players to express themselves however they see fit as long as it’s done in a peaceful and non-disruptive manner, our lawyers tell us they may very well have some legal protections to keep us from disciplining them or trying to stop it. “The only one who can defuse this now is the president. He’d have to apologize, or at least back down in some way, and what are the chances he’s going to do that?”We are sorry, folks, but for those of you who are constantly telling us to “stick to sports,” in this case we truly wish we could. But the way we hear it, that just isn’t going to be possible for the foreseeable future.