By Perry Green, AFRO Sports Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
The NFL pissed off a ton of people after reports surfaced May 23 of a new league policy that will require all players to either stand during the playing of the National Anthem or remain in the locker room, or face the consequences of a fine or further discipline.
Yet, predictably, there was one who actually praised and commended the NFL for installing the policy.
Then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, middle, kneels during the national anthem before the team’s NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers, in San Diego in 2016. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
“You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem and the NFL owners did the right thing if that’s what they’ve done,” said President Donald Trump in an interview with Fox News Thursday morning.
“You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem or you shouldn’t be playing. You shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country,” the controversial President continued.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com was the first to release details of the league’s new policy, explaining how players would have the option to remain in their respective locker rooms if they did not want to stand. According to Rapoport, each team will also have the right to develop its own policies enforcing players standing during the anthem, as long as they are consistent with the NFL’s rules. “The league’s commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who does not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” as stated by a league representative, according Rapoport.
But New York Jets co-owner Christopher Johnson told the media that he plans on paying any fines that his team or players may endure from kneeling in protest of racism and police brutality.
“I do not like imposing any club-specific rules. If somebody takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organization, by me, not the players,” Johnson said, according to Newsweek. “I never want to put restrictions on the speech of our players. Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But I understand if they felt the need to protest.
“There are some big, complicated issues that we’re all struggling with, and our players are on the front lines,” Johnson continued. “I don’t want to come down on them like a ton of bricks, and I won’t. There will be no club fines or suspensions or any sort of repercussions. If the team gets fined, that’s just something I’ll have to bear.”