Jets CEO Christopher Johnson doesn’t support forcing players to stand for anthem
ORLANDO, Fla. — Jets CEO Christopher Johnson doesn’t want to see the NFL mandate that all players stand for the national anthem.
“I don’t approve of changing the current status,” Johnson said Sunday before the NFL’s annual spring owners meetings. “I know there’s some discussion about keeping players off the field until after the anthem. I think that’s a particularly bad idea.”
The anthem issue has become a hot-button topic for the NFL after 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the song throughout the 2016 season, and president Donald Trump has frequently criticized players who don’t stand for the anthem. Kaepernick and a handful of other players took a knee to protest racial injustice in the United States.
Owners will discuss the anthem issue this week, although they won’t vote on any specific changes to the current guidelines. Players are required to be on the field during the anthem, and should stand for the song. Some owners would like to change the wording from “should stand” to “must stand.”
“I can’t speak to how other people run their teams,” Johnson said, “but I just think that trying to forcibly get the players to shut up is a fantastically bad idea.”
No Jets players took a knee last season; instead, the players, coaches and Johnson locked arms during the song. Johnson also became active in discussions with the players on ways to deal with racial injustice. He said he plans to address the owners on the subject this week.
“I just think the Jets had a pretty great thing happen last year around the anthem,” he said. “I think there was an understanding between me and the players that we could use our position to get some great stuff done off the field. I have immense respect for the players and their efforts, and I think if some of the other teams approached it like that, there wouldn’t be such a problem in the NFL.”