The NFL approved a new national-anthem policy on Wednesday in response to ongoing player protests that took over the 2017 season, and the league appears to have caved to the wishes of President Donald Trump and others who stressed the importance of "respecting the flag".
The changes are the latest development in a polarizing debate that began with Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and then became more heated last fall following comments from President Trump, who first criticized protesting players at a rally and later ripped the league in a series of tweets for not taking stronger action.
"I think that's the best way to do it". We haven't had to issue an edict.
Johnson told Newsday that Jets players can protest any which way they see fit without having to fear blowback from the team, despite Goodell's announcement.
"Before the game, after the game, on their off time we encourage them to be as socially active and involved as they'd like to be ... and exercise their political choice". York said that all owners that voted in in the process supported the change. "At the same time, we need to listen to our players and support the issues and causes that matter to them". Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon took a knee during the anthem through most of last season. This is not and was never the case.
Pence and Mother left the Indianapolis stadium, the former governor issuing a statement: "I left today's Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem".
"If the team says 'this is what we're doing, ' and ownership (does too), you either deal with it or you're probably going to get cut", Pittsburgh Steelers guard Ramon Foster said. "And I think the more that we can get that message out and understand what they're fighting for and why they're fighting for it, the easier that it's gonna be to make progress".
The NFL players' union noted in a statement that it wasn't consulted before the policy was put into place, and that it would "challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement".
The new anthem protocol is likely to face resistance from the NFL Players Association, which did not have a role in the discussions.
"It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of National Football League players were unpatriotic".
It went on: "The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by commissioner Roger Goodell and the chairman of the NFL's management council John Mara about the principles, values and patriotism of our league".
The NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, said the league had been "sensitive" on the issue.
According to a new rule unanimously approved by owners (San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York abstained from voting)*, team personnel are no longer required to stand on the field during the national anthem.
"What NFL owners did today was thwart the players' constitutional rights to express themselves and use our platform to draw attention to social injustices like racial inequality in our country". Considering Kaepernick is heading into his second year without a job and a former teammate and fellow protester, Eric Reid, is also out of work, it seemed to clear to at least one player what message the National Football League was trying to send.
Kaepernick, who was released by the 49ers after the 2016 season and remains unsigned, has filed a lawsuit accusing teams of colluding to ban him from the league.