The NFL has no choice but to allow players to not stand for the national anthem, because no rule or labor agreement permits the NFL to compel it. But the 32 teams are individually owned, by folks who have a lot of money and power and like to spend (and make) the former and wield (and amass) the latter.
It’s no surprise, then, that Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin claims that one or more owners have ordered players to stand for the anthem. Appearing on HBO’s Any Given Wednesday, Baldwin said that “some owners” have “taken a stand and told players to do certain things” regarding the anthem issue.
Pressed for specifics, Baldwin said, “[R]egarding the National Anthem and the protests, the one quote that I was informed of was, ‘You’re going to stand on the line with your hand on your heart and you’re going to sing the National Anthem because this is my stage.’”
Baldwin then clarified that it’s his understanding an owner said that. Baldwin didn’t specify the owner, but many will suspect that it was Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who to date has been the only owner to express disappointment regarding anthem protests.
Whoever it was, someone needs to go public with the name and the specific quote, so that the owner can confirm or deny the contention. And so that the other 31 owners who didn’t say it won’t be inaccurately blamed for saying it.