The NFL, which has been reeling from its own political fallout, has spent much of this week trying to keep a lid on the controversy.
On Monday, the league’s chief legal counsel sent a letter to the league executive committee urging them to maintain a “respectful” tone and avoid any “disparaging remarks.”
“We do not want to be the subject of negative commentary and we do not wish to be seen as being biased or attempting to discredit any group of individuals or institutions, including the NFL,” the letter stated.
“Our objective is to avoid unnecessary public commentary and, more importantly, to avoid any negative attention for the NFL.”
The NFL’s response, issued Monday afternoon, did not directly address the letter but acknowledged the league has a responsibility to protect its players.
But it did offer a few additional suggestions on how to avoid negative coverage.
The letter added that the league would continue to monitor the allegations against the Dallas Cowboys, the owners of the Dallas franchise who have been the subject and target of a massive bounty program that has been widely condemned by lawmakers and the public.
It also reiterated the league will work to address the NFLPA’s grievance about the Bountygate scandal and the league may consider its options on a possible resolution to the dispute.
This week, the NFL issued a statement that said the league had received no formal complaint from the Dallas owners.
And on Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the owners were willing to talk to the commissioner about any issues.
When asked whether he felt there were any ways to avoid a potential political backlash over the Bounty program, Goodell said there were.
I think it’s important that we stay out of politics and keep our focus on the game, Goodell told reporters.