NFL Players React To League's New Anthem Policy
Yesterday afternoon the NFL announced a new national anthem policy that requires players to stand for the anthem if they're on the field or else risk being fined. Players and personnel now have the option to remain in the locker room if they prefer.
In wake that announcement, several players, coaches, owners, media members and even President Trump have weighed in with their opinion. The NFL Players Association released a statement, revealing that "the NFL chose to not consult the union in the development this new "policy.""
"The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman the NFL's Management Council John Mara about the principles, values and patriotism our League."
Philadelphia Eagles lineman Chris Long and safety Malcolm Jenkins both posted statements on twitter. Long explained that the new policy is "fear a diminished bottom line" while Jenkins wrote, "What the NFL owners did today was thwart the players' constitutional rights to express themselves."
Here are some the other reactions from players around the league, according to ESPN.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott: "I'm glad they came to an agreement in some form or another. I'll be out there standing."
Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin to 710 ESPN Seattle: "I'm not surprised, honestly. The NFL cares about one thing, and that's the NFL, that's the NFL's bottom line. I may be privy to some different information because I've been in conversations with Roger Goodell and Troy Vincent and the leadership the NFL in regards to the Players Coalition and what we're trying to get out that. So honestly, I'm not surprised. I'm disappointed. I will say that, because the conversations I've had with Roger, that I've had with Troy Vincent, these guys that you really put your heart out there and say, 'Look, we're trying to do something good for the communities that we represent, that represent us,' and it just felt like again, there was a lack understanding. To me, this just further punctuates the tone-deafness or the disconnect between the NFL and its players."
New York Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said to Newsday: "If somebody on the Jets] takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organization, by me, not the players. I never want to put restrictions on the speech 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."
Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe: "That’s probably the best way to do it. The NBA has been doing it for 20 years, and they haven't had an issue, right? ... I'm going to stand for the national anthem. I think I've made that clear, so whatever anybody else wants to do, that's their decision. They have a right to their opinion; they can do whatever they want."
Bears outside linebacker Sam Acho: "I don't think anything really changes at this point. Right? Obviously, NFLPA goes back and says, 'OK, what do we do now? As a union, what do we do? How will we respond?' But, to be honest, I think a lot players are happy about the conversations that are happening. So the protest served their purpose."