The NFL enacted a policy that penalizes teams in the form of fines if players kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner” during May’s spring meetings in Atlanta. The policy also allows players to stay in the locker room during the national anthem but mandates they must stand if they come out on the field.
President Donald Trump praised the NFL’s policy, saying that “maybe you (referring to players who kneel) shouldn’t be in the country” if you don’t stand for the anthem. Tisch has been extremely critical of Trump’s stance on this issue.
“Hopefully he’ll have much more going on that he’s going to have to deal with and should deal with and must deal with than worrying about what NFL players do,” Tisch said in a Tuesday interview with The Hollywood Reporter at the premiere of The Equalizer 2. Tisch is one of the film’s producers.
“He has no understanding of why they take a knee or why they’re protesting. When the new season starts, I hope his priorities are not criticizing the NFL and telling owners what to do and what not to do.”
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began to kneel during the national anthem in the 2016 season to protest against police brutality as well as the inequities in the justice system based on race and class. Last season, defensive end Olivier Vernon took a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner before the Week 13 loss to the Oakland Raiders.
“You never want to be told what to do really,” Vernon said in a June interview before teammate Landon Collins’ Charity Softball Game. “Especially when it comes to your freedom of speech. But, it is what it is. We haven’t gotten too in depth into the rule.”
Trump, who unsuccessfully attempted to force a merger with the NFL as an owner in the United States Football League during the mid-1980s, has implored owners to “fire” players who didn’t stand for the anthem. His comments helped spur a national debate about patriotism. He believes “the people” asked for the NFL’s policy.
“I brought it out. I think the people pushed it forward,” Trump said. “You know, that’s something ideally could have been taken care of when it (the kneeling) first started; it would have been a lot easier, but if they did that, they did the right thing.”
The NFL’s policy gives teams the latitude to decide if they wish to fine players if they kneel. New York Jets chairman Christopher Johnson said he will pay the fines of any of his players who kneel. On the other hand, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was forced to issue a retraction of sorts when The Associated Press released a team document that mentioned fining and suspending players if they kneel on Thursday.
Tisch reiterated the Giants will not fine or suspend their players.
“We support our players,” Tisch said. “They are not going to be punished. There is not going to be any punitive action taking place against them.”
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.