Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this afternoon that NFL players should voice their concerns about racial injustice without "alienating" people.
"We do need to get off this controversy," Rice told Dana Perino on "The Daily Briefing."
"Whatever the players were trying to do in drawing attention to these issues, it's gone another way now in that people have stopped listening to each other."
Rice said the players' goal should be to bring as many people to their side as possible and explain what injustices they are protesting.
"We have this birth defect of slavery. We have had a long history or racial injustice and trying to come to terms with it," she acknowledged.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told owners today that the league will consider a rule change requiring players to stand for the anthem.
The letter came out after Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones became the first owner to suggest repercussions for protesting the anthem.
Rice said she hopes Goodell's statement will help the league and the country move past the controversy.
Rice, passionate about football and once rumored to be a top choice for NFL commissioner, said she - like many NFL fans - wants to see Old Glory respected,
"I personally believe very strongly that the American flag stands for the millions of people who have sacrificed over the years," she concluded, adding it's a "symbol of the fact that we have greater freedoms" than any other country.
Watch her remarks above.