Voices from Russia

Saturday, 26 May 2018

NFL Owners Never Voted on the New National Anthem Policy. Wait… What?

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On Wednesday, the National Football League (NFL) announced a new policy regarding player protests during the national anthem… stay in the locker room, stand, or face a fine. Now, it looks like the owners never officially voted for the policy after all. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said during the NFL’s announcement:

Clearly, our objective as a league and to all 32 clubs, which was unanimous, is that we want people to be respectful of the national anthem.

Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence applauded the move by the NFL. However, sources reported the owners never held a formal vote, so, who approved it unanimously? According to a report by ESPN’s Seth Wickersham, during two days of meetings on league matters in Atlanta:

The NFL just did a little informal polling and thought everyone would be cool with it.

Sources said league executives polled owners and knew how they’d vote but didn’t hold an official tally, which is atypical for a major resolution. The new policy leaves it to teams to discipline their own players for acts deemed disrespectful during the anthem. However, it also gave the league wide powers to fine teams as well. The NFL Players Association already made a public statement that the league never consulted them on the new anthem policy, also atypical of major changes affecting players. Moreover, not all team owners are singing the new anthem policy’s praises either. Three team owners distanced themselves from this policy as well. San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York announced he abstained from any decision about the policy. Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis also claims to have abstained. Their abstentions contradict Goodell’s claim of a unanimous vote by all 32 owners.

Meanwhile, New York Jets chairman Chris Johnson vowed to pay any fines for his players who demonstrate during the national anthem:

I don’t like imposing any club-specific rules. If somebody [on the Jets] takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organisation, by me, not the players. I never want to put restrictions on the speech of our players. Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. However, 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’ll 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.

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Johnson’s announcement drew some criticism, but his Twitter post also drew praise. The new anthem policy is catching a lot of flak on social media. Many accused the NFL in general or Roger Goodell in particular of simply pandering to the President and Vice President on the issue, without regard for the players or fans. People also questioned the NFL’s priorities. Whether the new policy stands or not remains to be seen.

24 May 2018

Amelia Mavis Christnot

Second Nexus

https://secondnexus.com/news/nfl-owners-never-voted-anthem/

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