The Latest: Broncos’ Wolfe agrees with new anthem rule
ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the NFL’s new policy requiring players to stand if they are on the field during the national anthem but permitting them to stay in the locker room if they prefer (all times local):
Denver Broncos union representative Matt Paradis says that while he wishes players were consulted on the new national anthem policy, NFL owners have every right to introduce new rules.
Paradis says that “they are the employers, so if they want to create a stipulation, we’ll go from there.”
Denver defensive end Derek Wolfe agrees with the league’s new mandate for players to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” or stay inside the locker room.
Wolfe says: “That’s probably the best way to do it. The NBA’s been doing it for 20 years and they haven’t had an issue.”
Pittsburgh Steelers guard Ramon Foster shrugged his shoulders when asked about the NFL’s new policy on national anthem protests, saying in a way, players are powerless.
Foster says: ‘If the team says, ‘this is what we’re doing,’ and ownership (does too), you either deal with it or you’re probably going to get cut. You can fight the resistance on that one but, same as we can’t smoke marijuana because it’s illegal in certain states, it’s the same issue.”
The guard says, “you have to adhere to the rules and if not, they’ll find a way to get you up out of there.”
The Steelers botched an attempt last fall to stay out of the national anthem flap by remaining in the tunnel during a game in Chicago.
Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a graduate of West Point who did three tours in Afghanistan before joining the NFL, found himself on the field when the anthem began playing and turned to face the flag. His teammates remained in the tunnel, leading to the stark image of Villanueva standing alone while his teammates remained out of sight 20 yards away.
Villanueva and the rest of the Steelers apologized for what they called a miscommunication.
NFL owners have approved a new policy aimed at ending the firestorm over national anthem protests, permitting players to stay in the locker room during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” but requiring them to stand if they come to the field.
The decision was announced Wednesday by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the league’s spring meeting in Atlanta.
In a sign that players were not part of the discussions, any violations of the policy would result in fines against the team — not the players. The NFL Players Association said it will challenge any part of the new policy that violates the collective bargaining agreement.
The owners spent several hours addressing the contentious issue — which has reached all the way to the White House.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, a quiet but powerful protest against police brutality and racial inequities in the justice system.
Other players took up the cause.
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