Co-owner of the New York Giants, Steve Tisch, said last week that Giants players will not be punished for protesting during the national anthem.
Tisch, who is also a film and TV producer, told the Hollywood Reporter that “there is not going to be any punitive action taking place against them” if they decide to kneel or protest in other ways.
The NFL approved a policy in May to fine teams for players who kneel during the anthem. Players have the option of staying in the locker room while “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played, but if they are on the field they are required to stand.
Tisch called out President Donald Trump, who has been vocal in his criticism of players who take a knee, saying the president does not understand the protests.
“Hopefully he’ll have much more going on that he’s going have to deal with…than worrying about what NFL players do,” Tisch told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
The new NFL policy is now on hold, however, after it was reported on Saturday that a new Miami Dolphins team policy stated players could be suspended for up to four games if they decide to kneel on the field. The NFL and the players’ union are in talks trying to work out the issue. The organizations issued a joint statement, saying both sides “have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue. In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA’s grievance and on the NFL’s anthem policy.”
Tisch may not get his wish for Trump to keep out of the conversation. The president tweeted his disdain for the talks between the NFL and the players union to come to a resolution on Saturday.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality against racial minorities.
Tisch said he supports his players if they decide to do so. “We support our players,” Tisch said. “They are not going to be punished.”