On the anthem issue, Big Shield has a few cracks.
Apart from 49ers owner Jed York abstaining from the vote, Jets CEO Christopher Johnson has made it clear that he won’t punish players who violate the new mandate to “respect” the flag.
“I do not like imposing any club-specific rules,” Johnson said, via Bob Glauber of Newsday. “If somebody [on the Jets] 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. There are some big, complicated issues that we’re all struggling with, and our players are on the front lines. I don’t want to come down on them like a ton of bricks, and I won’t. There will be no club fines or suspensions or any sort of repercussions. If the team gets fined, that’s just something I’ll have to bear.”
Making Johnson’s stance on this intensely political issue even more intriguing is the fact that he’s running the team solely because President Donald Trump made Johnson’s brother, Woody, the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom. Christopher’s stance, if it results in more protests, will eventually draw the ire of the New York native who currently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
It remains to be seen whether the fines will increase with each violation, under the notion of progressive discipline that the NFL uses for violations of in-game safety rules. If so, it could get very expensive for Johnson and the Jets.