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Giants co-owner Steve Tisch: We won’t penalize players who kneel during national anthem

He said of President Trump, “He has no understanding of why they take a knee or why they’re protesting.”

Giants chairman and executive vice president Steve Tisch

Giants chairman and executive vice president Steve Tisch talks with the media at Pat Shurmur's introductory news conference in January. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Giants co-owner Steve Tisch told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this week that his players won’t be penalized if they kneel during the national anthem and he criticized President Donald Trump for his involvement in the controversy.

Tisch, speaking on Tuesday night at the premier of “The Equalizer 2,” said the team will “support our players.”

“They are not going to be punished,” Tisch, who is a producer for ‘The Equalizer 2,’ told The Hollywood Reporter. “There is not going to be any punitive action taking place against them.”

NFL owners voted 31-0 — with only the 49ers abstaining — during meetings in Atlanta in May to revise the national anthem policy, requiring players on the field to stand during the playing of the anthem. The revised policy also allows players who don’t want to participate in the anthem ceremony to remain in the locker room. A team can be fined by the NFL if any player on the field kneels during the anthem. Under the revised policy, teams also are permitted to discipline players who protest during the anthem.

The NFL has been heavily criticized by President Trump and fans for not requiring players to stand.

“Hopefully he’ll have much more going on that he’s going have to deal with and should deal with and must 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.”

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday afternoon that NFL players should be suspended for one game if they kneel during the playing of the national anthem once and suspended for the season without pay if they kneel a second time. President Trump’s tweet also criticized NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand,” Trump tweeted.

Jets chairman Christopher Johnson told Newsday after the meetings in May when the revised anthem policy was announced that his players would not be penalized by the team if they kneeled or protested during the anthem.

All Jets players stood in the 2017 season during the anthem, with them, coaches and Johnson interlocking arms.

“I do not like imposing any club-specific rules,” Johnson said. “If somebody 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.”

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