Representative Peter King (R-NY) ripped Jets Owner Charles Johnson for offering to pay the fines of any Jets players who choose to protest the national anthem.
In making his point, King then asked if Johnson would pay the fines of players who chose to give “Nazi salutes” or “spew racism.”
Johnson revealed his plans to pay the player fines and not mete out any additional punishments, after the NFL unveiled their new anthem policy on Wednesday. According to the new rule, all players on the field are required to “stand and show respect” for the flag and anthem, during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner. However, the new rule does allow players who don’t wish to appear for the anthem to remain in the locker room until the song is over.
Johnson’s offer to pay the fines of protesting players is rather hollow. Under league rules, if a player disrespects the anthem, it’s the players team that gets fined, not the player. So, in reality, every NFL owner will pay the fine of a protesting player whether the owner is sympathetic to the players cause or not.
One could rate the promise even more hollow if the fact that the Jets did not have a single player protest during the anthem last year, gets taken into account. Though, since the Jets CEO and acting owner has made it clear there will be no fines or team punishments, that could obviously change.
The part of Christopher Johnson’s pledge that carries more weight, is the promise to not punish the player any further. A provision afforded to all teams so that they can carry the punishment further if they so choose.
Interestingly, Christopher Johnson is the brother of Woody Johnson, who is currently serving as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. According to The Hill, Woody Johnson is a “longtime donor” to the GOP and made a $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee.
President Trump played an integral role in rallying fans opposed to the anthem protests, by publicly calling the players out. In September of last year, Trump called protesting players “SOB’s,” and said he wished their team owners would fire them.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn