Giants' Olivier Vernon Won't Kneel During National Anthem to Avoid Fines

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2018

New York Giants' Olivier Vernon speaks to reporters before a NFL football training camp in East Rutherford, N.J., Tuesday, April 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

New York Giants edge-rusher Olivier Vernon protested social injustice and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem last season, but he's planning to nix that practice when the 2018 campaign begins. 

According to ESPN.com's Jordan Raanan, Vernon said Saturday that he won't kneel because he's not "trying to get fined."

"You never want to be told what to do really," Vernon added, per NJ.com's Matt Lombardo. "Especially when it comes to your freedom of speech. But it is what it is. We haven't really gotten too in depth into the rule." 

Vernon's remarks come soon after the NFL's owners agreed to a new anthem policy that will allow the league to fine teams whose players do not "show respect for the flag and the anthem," according to the New York TimesMatthew Futterman and Victor Mather.

"I certainly trust that our players are going to do the right thing," Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said May 30, per the New York Daily NewsAmara Grautski. "I think we just let it settle for a minute. At some point, we'll sit and discuss it, but we just haven't done it yet."

Under the new anthem policy, players will also be allowed to stay in the locker room until "The Star-Spangled Banner" has been played.