Jets Owner Christopher Johnson Says He Will Pay Players' Anthem-Related Fines

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 23, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 24:  Jermaine Kearse #10 and Josh McCown #15, Jamal Adams #33 and Christopher Johnson CEO of the New York Jets stand in unison with their team during the National Anthem prior to an NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on September 24, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

New York Jets co-owner Christopher Johnson will pay any fines his players might be subjected to as part of the NFL's new national anthem policy.

Per Newsday's Bob Glauber, Johnson addressed the situation Wednesday:

"I do not like imposing any club-specific rules. 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."

Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, under the new policy, NFL personnel may stay in the locker room if they don't want to stand for the national anthem. Teams could be subjected to fines if players or staff don't stand during the anthem while on the field.

The policy also states teams can develop their own rules regarding personnel who choose not to stand during the anthem, as long as it is in conjunction with the new league-wide policies.

According to Rapoport, NFL owners passed the new policy unanimously. However, San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York said he abstained from the vote, per Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.

Johnson previously spoke out against a rule change forcing players to stand during the national anthem.

"I can't speak to how other people run their teams, but I just think that trying to forcibly get the players to shut up is a fantastically bad idea," he told reporters in March.

Woody Johnson, Christopher's brother and Jets co-owner, is the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom for President Donald Trump.

Trump has spoken out against NFL player protests during the national anthem. He said owners should fire anyone who kneels during the anthem at a rally in Alabama last September.

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