Jets CEO announces plan to help players circumvent NFL's new anthem rules


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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made it official Wednesday, announcing the league will implement a new policy on protests during the national anthem.

All players, coaches and other NFL personnel will now be required to “show respect for the flag and the anthem” if they are on the field at the time.

However, those who “choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the anthem has been performed.”

Any team whose players violate the policy will face a fine from the league office, and the club can punish the violators as well.

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Over the past two years, the NFL has drawn the ire of many fans — and President Donald Trump — for allowing players to kneel, sit on the bench or otherwise show disrespect during the national anthem. Veterans groups and others have called for a league boycott in response to the divisive demonstrations, and NFL ratings have plummeted the past two years.

The league hopes its new policy will put a halt to that.

“We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it — and on our fans who enjoy it,” Goodell said Wednesday.

Don’t count on it.

One team executive already has declared that his players are free to kneel or sit during the anthem without worrying about any repercussions.

“I do not like imposing any club-specific rules,” New York Jets chairman Christopher Johnson told Newsday on Wednesday. “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 of our players.

Do you support Christopher Johnson's decision to give his players free rein to protest during the national anthem?

“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. 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.”

It’s unclear whether any other teams will follow the Jets’ lead, but it seems likely that at least some of them will.

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One possibility is the San Francisco 49ers, whose former quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, gave birth to the anthem protest movement in the 2016 preseason and whose owner, Jed York, was the only one to abstain from Wednesday’s vote on the anthem policy.

Another could be the Seattle Seahawks, who were at the forefront of player protests.

The bottom line is if players aren’t held accountable for ignoring the new policy and showing disrespect during the national anthem, the kneeling will continue — and a lot of fans will stay away.

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Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He has worked as an editor or reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years.
Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He was born in Baltimore and grew up in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Miami (he dreams of wearing the turnover chain) and has worked as an editor and reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years. Todd started at The Miami News (defunct) and went on to work at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., the St. Petersburg (now Tampa Bay) Times, The Baltimore Sun and Space News before joining Liftable Media in 2016. He and his beautiful wife have two amazing daughters and a very old Beagle.
Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami
Phoenix, Arizona
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Politics, Media, Sports