Shortly after that, 49ers owner Jed York contradicted commissioner Roger Goodell's assertion that the motion passed unanimously by announcing that he abstained from voting because he wanted to hear more from the players.
York said he meant to meet with his players to discuss the change.
"I don't think we should be profiting if we're going to put this type of attention and focus on the field and on the flag", he said. That could be a way to avoid legal challenges from the players' union, since fines against a team would not be subject to collective bargaining. "Obviously, we want to continue to work with our players and make sure that they feel that their point of view has been respected".
"For me, this has never been about taking a knee, raising a fist or anyone's patriotism but doing what we can to effect real change for real people". "We've been very sensitive on making sure that we give players choices, but we do believe that moment is an important moment and one that we are going to focus on". If a player comes out for the anthem and kneels, their team would be fined, and commissioner Roger Goodell would "impose appropriate discipline".
"A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem", the policy reads.
The owners spent several hours addressing the contentious issue - which has reached all the way to the White House.
"I seriously struggled with this", he said, "In the end, I felt I had to support it from a membership standpoint". "If somebody takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organization, by me, not the players".More news: Vedanta shares drop 6% after protests in Tamil Nadu
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Some NFL players knelt during the anthem to protest police shootings of unarmed black men, sparking a controversy as Trump criticized the players as being unpatriotic.
The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new "policy".
Houston Texans owner Bob McNair told players they should talk to their teammates who kneel: "You fellas need to ask your compadres, fellas, stop that other business, let's go out and do something that really produces positive results, and we'll help you". (York also noted that the 49ers may halt concession sales during the anthem.) Jets chairman Christopher Johnson then volunteered that he will pay the fines of any Jets players punished under the policy.
Johnson says he plans to meet with Jets players and coaches to discuss the decision.
"I don't think they should be forced to stand or put their hand over the chest", Lamont Stone of Monroeville said. "I hope we can have a good, respectful conversation: Is it the best policy for us to write a check to the league (for further on-field protests) or can we find a better way to use this money?" They had previously been required to. "You can fight the resistance on that one, but same as we can't smoke marijuana because it's illegal in certain states, or it's legal in certain states, it's the same issue". You've just got to abide by them.
Goodell took a more conciliatory path.
Responding to criticism by President Trump of players who kneel or sit during the anthem, the Steelers were one of several National Football League teams to take a stand last season before their Week 3 game in Chicago.
Players and other National Football League personnel who would prefer to remain seated or kneel during the anthem as part of ongoing protests against racial inequality and police brutality spearheaded by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 "may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field", until the anthem's conclusion, the National Football League said.