The Atlanta Falcons will decide as a team, whether they stay in the locker room or stand on the sideline for the national anthem.
That report comes from a D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, who says that the players will decide the best path forward, and all will abide by that decision.
“That’s something we’ll get to,” quarterback Matt Ryan said according to the AJC. “I think the focus for everybody, to be frank with you, has been on the practices and the OTAs.”
“We are a team and we want to do everything as a team,” running back Tevin Coleman said. “We have to go out there and fight for each other. That just brings a lot of relationship together with the players.”
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has mandated that however the team decides to observe the anthem, they do it together
As Ledbetter explains, “Only two Falcons players knelt during the national anthem last season and did so in response to President Donald Trump calling NFL players “sons of bitches” during a rally in Huntsville, Ala., last September. Dontari Poe and Grady Jarrett took a knee in Detroit in response to the president’s comments.”
While the relative lack of protesting by the Falcons last year might lead one to believe that the team would decide to come to the sidelines, it’s just as likely that the team would stay in the locker room. The NFL’s new rule requiring players on the field to stand, makes the league as much of a target for the protesters as the anthem, or President Trump. Some portion of the team will likely want to remain in the locker room as a show of defiance to Roger Goodell. That kind of statement could be appealing to players who would otherwise want to stand, but strongly dislike Roger Goodell.
In addition, prior to 2009, all teams used to remain in the locker room for the anthem anyway. Making it possible for the team to explain a decision to remain inside, as simply a return to the old league policy.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn