The NFL’s new policy will impose fines on teams when players kneel or otherwise “disrespect” the anthem. From there, teams can choose whether or how to discipline players who run afoul of the rules. Jets chairman Christopher Johnson says he will not be among those fining players who demonstrate during the anthem.
“I do not like imposing any club-specific rules,” Johnson said (via Calvin Watkins of Newsday). “If somebody [on the Jets] takes a knee, 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. Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But 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 will 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.”
Johnson voted to ratify the anthem policy on Wednesday in Atlanta, but he wasn’t necessarily thrilled about the end result.
“I seriously struggled with this,” he said of the anthem modifications. “You know my position on the anthem, and you have to understand that the plan we ended up with, due to some serious work in the [meeting] room, was vastly less onerous than the one that was presented to me late last week. In the end, I felt I had to support it from a membership standpoint.”
Here’s more on Gang Green:
- Sam Darnold can erase Jets GM Mike Maccagnan‘s mistake of drafting Christian Hackenberg, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News opines. Hackenberg was the first quarterback drafted in the first two rounds not to take a regular season snap in his first two seasons in more than three decades, but all will be forgotten if this year’s No. 3 overall pick plays up to his potential. Hackenberg will now try to get on track with the Raiders while Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, and Darnold (not necessarily in that order) handle things at QB.
- Once it became clear that Bridgewater was healthy, there was no need for the Jets to keep Hackenberg around, Brian Costello of the New York Post writes. Without an opportunity for reps – or a real chance at making the final cut – the Jets made an easy call by shipping Hackenberg and his contract to the Raiders for a conditional seventh-round draft choice.