NFL Issues Statement After Rash of Preseason Anthem Protests

Anthem Protests
The Associated Protests

The NFL suspended its new anthem policy in July, which stated that players on the field had to stand and pay respect to the flag and anthem during the playing of our nation’s song.

Three weeks after negotiations between the league and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) failed to produce a compromise on a revised anthem policy, players took to the field and protested at will on the first full night of preseason action.

Three members of the Miami Dolphins either knelt, or raised a fist in protest. While four members of the Jacksonville Jaguars did not take the field at all during the anthem. Three Seahawk players ran into the tunnel just prior to the playing of the anthem and did not re-emerge until after it was over. And in Baltimore, linebacker Tim Williams stood in front of the bench with his back to the field.

In response to the renewed protests, NFL Spokesman Brian McCarthy issued this statement:

There has been no change in the NFL’s policy regarding the national anthem. The anthem will continue to be played before every game, and all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem. Personnel who do not wish to do so can choose to remain in the locker room.

We remain committed to working with the players to identify solutions and to continue making progress on important social issues affecting our communities.

As the NFL is finding out, there’s a big difference between being “expected” to stand for the anthem, and being “required” to stand for the anthem.

On Friday morning, President Trump blasted the players for the protests:

The league and the NFLPA have just over a month to produce a compromise resolution on an anthem policy, if they intent to have a policy before the start of the regular season.

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn

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