Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick stirred a polarising national debate in 2016 after refusing to stand during pre-game renditions of the US national anthem, instead choosing to go down on one knee.

San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold (58), quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and free safety Eric Reid (35) kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem before a NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals in Santa Clara, California.
San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold (58), quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and free safety Eric Reid (35) kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem before a NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals in Santa Clara, California. (Reuters)

The National Football League will try to find a way to move on from the controversial issue of players protesting during the national anthem before games when it meets with team owners in New York this week for a regularly scheduled meeting.

The gesture by players who say they are protesting racial inequality and injustice has picked up steam ever since US President Donald Trump criticised the league last month for allowing players to do so.

The issue is sure to command much attention on Tuesday and Wednesday when the world's top-grossing sports league meets with team owners, players and their union's leaders inside a Manhattan hotel.

For its part, the NFL has said it will not seek a mandate for players to stand during renditions of the "Star-Spangled Banner" but rather seek out some form of compromise.

"I anticipate a very productive presentation of things we can do to work together. Beyond that I don't anticipate anything else," NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart told reporters during a conference call on Monday.

In a memo sent to teams last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league had been working with owners and players on a plan to offer an in-season platform to promote the work of players on these core issues. He also said the league wants players to stand for the anthem.

TRT World 's Giles Gibson has more on this.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies