With players stomping on the tube last weekend, owners are working very carefully to put the toothpaste back in this week, so they can continue to sell toothpaste.
After the Saints players announced they were going to kneel before them anthem and stand for the song to show #unity, Saints owner Tom Benson put out another statement today to try to cover all his bases.
The statement began with the usual decree that he loves the military and the flag, before hitting the realization that this is a tricky issue for teams to navigate.
“One of the things I am most proud of is my military service,” the statement read. “And, there are few things that are more important to me than the honor that I feel we must bestow upon our military men and women- the honor we must show our flag- and standing at attention for our flag and our national anthem is a powerful symbol we must respect.
“As an owner in the NFL and NBA for years, I have met many players, coaches and staff from seemingly every background possible. But as this week has demonstrated, there are very sensitive, difficult and emotional matters affecting this country. Now more than ever we must find solutions that unite and don’t divide us.
“Today, Drew Brees and team leadership stated that our team will stand for the national anthem. Regarding the issues of social injustice, I stand ready to offer our organizations, our players, and our community meaningful support and resources to move from protest to solution.
“We have spoken to our state leadership in Governor Jon Bel Edwards — he is also ready to do what he can with us to affect positive change.
“With my heart, I respect everyone’s very honest and sincere opinions that I have heard personally on this subject all week. We are committed to work with our players and our community to be unified to create positive change for all citizens.
“Along the way, when presented the opportunity – I offer that we all thank a military man or woman and honor our flag and anthem- it is that freedom that is allowing us this discussion today. We should and must use this most powerful of platforms to help heal.”
In addition to the usual fan backlash after 10 Saints players sat last week, the Saints have faced some political pressure back home, which leads teams to go out of their way to make sure everyone feels good about paying for and consuming their product.