NFL owner says he'll pay fines for players on his team who kneel during national anthem
New York Jets chairman Christopher Johnson said he will pay any league fines that his players accrue and will not punish any players as a result of taking a knee, according to reporting by Newsday.
"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" Johnson said to Newsday.
Johnson's announcement comes after NFL owners approved a new policy which would discipline players who knelt during the national anthem. The new policy states all team and league personnel should stand "and show respect for the flag and the Anthem."
Players will not be required to be on the field during the anthem but failure to stand for the flag before the game on the field will result in a fine for the player's team. Clubs will also have the right to instill further discipline towards the player or personnel who kneels.
Roger Goodell released the following statement regarding this matter:
The policy adopted today was approved in concert with the NFL’s ongoing commitment to local communities and our country — one that is extraordinary in its scope, resources, and alignment with our players. We are dedicated to continuing our collaboration with players to advance the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of our society.
The efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed. The platform that we have created together is certainly unique in professional sports and quite likely in American business. We are honored to work with our players to drive progress.
It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case.
This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed.
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.
This comes as Colin Kaepernick is currently suing the league accusing them of colluding in order to keep him from playing football in the NFL.
Circa's Jessie Karangu contributed to this story.