NFL owners ‘of course’ want players to agree to stand for anthem
NFL owners hope that players will come to an agreement to resolve the national anthem protest controversy, according to one high-ranking team official.
“Of course we want them to agree to stand,” the official stated, via The Washington Post.
The new anthem policy instituted by owners in May owners has been temporarily shelved as the NFL and NFLPA after the parties agreed to further discuss the issue.
The new anthem policy approved by owners specified all players and team staff must stand during the anthem. There was however an option available where individuals could remain in the locker room during the pregame ceremony. The policy dictated teams with players or personnel who did not abide by the rules would be subject to fines.
According to The Post’s report, “there remains strong sentiment among them that they want players to stand for the anthem, by agreement if possible rather than via a unilaterally imposed policy,” per multiple sources familiar with the owners’ thinking.
The policy quickly became a source of consternation upon its ratification. Proponents of players’ rights to protest panned it while critics of anthem protests, including President Donald Trump, immediately ripped it, citing the policy as insufficient.
Trump reignited his war with the NFL by blasting Roger Goodell as well as the agreement to put the new policy on hold. The President suggested in a tweet that two violations of the originally instituted policy ought to result in a season-long suspension.
The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again – can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2018
Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown stated this week that Trump’s repeated criticism of the league “worked against us” in handling the anthem issue, a sentiment echoed by one of his fellow owners.
Political theater aside, it remains to be seen if the NFL and NFLPA will be able to resolve their differences concerning a polarizing controversy that continues to serve as a distraction as teams begin to open training camps.
The high-ranking team official quoted in The Post’s report expressed uncertainty over the future outcome of deliberations, saying he was “not sure how this will end up.”