Christopher Johnson pledges not to force players to stand for anthem

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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.

102 responses to “Christopher Johnson pledges not to force players to stand for anthem

  1. “Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But I understand if they felt the need to protest.”

    Anthem issue aside, that’s a pretty spineless statement from someone who cuts the check for their employees.

  2. I wish you were by my boss, I would protest all day long and bring the down the revenue for your company.

  3. Thats funny – he isnt the one who issues fines for employees that breach the company policy. If my employer forced me to sit for the anthem I would quit and find a new job since it is not my belief but I respect authority.

  4. “Don’t like imposing club specific rules”?

    What?

    You tell them what to practice, you tell them when to practice, you tell them what to wear on road trips, you tell them what penalties not to commit, you tell them what to say to the media, you tell them not to use steroids, you tell them not to drink and drive, you tell them not to abuse their spouse.

    What a coward.

  5. If he is so compassionate for the players protesting why doesn’t he go sign Kaepernick and Reid to his deplorable team?

  6. ““Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But I understand if they felt the need to protest.”

    Anthem issue aside, that’s a pretty spineless statement from someone who cuts the check for their employees.”

    Either that, or he’s smart enough to understand how to respect those whose views differ from his own.

    But no, yeah, totally spineless. Got it.

  7. When protesting hits the NFL’s bottom line, it will trickle down to less money for every player in the league. Do people actually think there is money coming in from any source but the fans? When the fans turn away, teams will lose money and players will lose money.

  8. Break out the checkbook then. Once he gets tired of paying the NFLs fines, he may change his mind.

  9. Ya right. Watch how fast he changes his tune when the fine is 10 million dollars. How many weeks in a row do you think he will eat that bill?

  10. derekgorgonstar; try a political protest at YOUR place of work and see what happens. At my place of work they make it clear that there is NO political free speech on the job. I won’t watch any game in which I see a protest, and you can’t make me.

  11. This whole thing is beyond dumb.

    Standing for the anthem is an arbitrary display of patriotism. In no way can you determine one’s level of patriotism by this. If there are people from ISIS in the states and they attend a game, I’m sure they’re going to stand, too.

    Also, the anthem and flag are not just about our vets. The flag and anthem represent the entirety of America, and what America has done, is doing, and will do.

  12. I hope they kneel and the NFL fines them millions, I’m sure he won’t pay those fines himself.

  13. fazzle1 says:
    May 23, 2018 at 3:03 pm
    ““Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But I understand if they felt the need to protest.”

    Anthem issue aside, that’s a pretty spineless statement from someone who cuts the check for their employees.”

    Either that, or he’s smart enough to understand how to respect those whose views differ from his own.

    But no, yeah, totally spineless. Got it.

    2 1 Rate This
    _________________________________________________________________________________________

    110% agree with you fazzle.

    I prefer that they stand to but I applaud this owners comments. You can agree or disagree but there is such a thing called tolerance.

  14. Initially i thought it disrespectful when Kaepernick sat during the playing of the anthem. Then he changed and decided to kneel.
    No Problem.
    I and millions of others kneel when they pray at church.
    I knelt to propose to my wife.
    Around the world kneeling is a sign of respect and deference.
    How is bowing and kneeling with your hand over heart during anthem a sign of disrespect?
    I applaud Johnson.

  15. Honestly I can see this issue from both sides.

    However, it’s B.S. to make players that want to kneel stay inside while the rest of the team goes to the field.

    Let them kneel or keep the entire team inside for the anthem so the guys that want to protest aren’t singled out.

  16. beltwaytd says:
    May 23, 2018 at 3:00 pm
    Start your own league if you don’t like rules.

    They better start that league in another country, where there are not so many rules about free speech.

  17. But honestly…who doesnt draw the ire from that orange goon? The NFL is an enemy to that man now, and will always remain that way (since they didnt let him get the bills)…nothing will be good enough so they should have just left the issue alone.

  18. Oh wow. Someone who doesnt agree with kneeling but respects the players rights to do so in a free country.

    Awesome and good for him and the Jets organization.

  19. Finally an owner who gets it and man enough to stand up for his convictions without compromise. I am white an a former Marine who does not agree with kneeling during the anthem but I served to protect the constitution and the rights of ALL Americans to protest and exercise their first amendment rights. Bosses do not get to pick and choose which unalienable rights as Americans can be exercised without threats of punishment. It goes against everything we stand for. Where do we draw the line? Which fundamental right will be threatened next? It’s a line that cannot be compromised or threatened at any cost and especially to preserve the monetary assets of those who intend to impinge upon it.

  20. Emmet Carney says:

    May 23, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    beltwaytd says:
    May 23, 2018 at 3:00 pm
    Start your own league if you don’t like rules.

    They better start that league in another country, where there are not so many rules about free speech.

    Or don’t work for a Private business with internal set rules….

  21. Instead of White peope telling Black people not to peacefully protest, how about they tell other White people in law enforcement to stop murdering Black people.

  22. I second that. If you oppose kneeling, you support the murder of unarmed African Americans and other minorities by those who are supposed to serve and protect us.

  23. “There are some big, complicated issues that we’re all struggling with, and our players are on the front lines.”
    —————————
    … players are on front lines. What front lines!?!

  24. “Our players are on the front lines.”

    Yes, yes. Your millionaire players are certainly on the front lines.

  25. Isn’t he a franchisee, operating under rules set by the parent company? Doesn’t this put him at risk of losing his franchise?

    If I told McDonald’s I won’t sell Big Macs they’d shut me down.

    Gotta be a better way!

  26. Yes, millionaire players leave the football field and return to the real world, where they are still treated as second-class citizens due to race. No amount of money can shield you from being black in this country.

  27. Trump thumpers want to cry and complain (and threaten) when someone mentions their precious 2nd amendment rights, then they cry and complain when players want to invoke their right to protest…… Typical.

  28. bystanderhere says:
    May 23, 2018 at 3:29 pm
    “There are some big, complicated issues that we’re all struggling with, and our players are on the front lines.”
    ———-
    Military, law enforcement, teachers — they’re on the front lines. NFL Players are playing a game.

  29. sponz says:
    May 23, 2018 at 3:23 pm
    Finally an owner who gets it and man enough to stand up for his convictions without compromise. I am white an a former Marine who does not agree with kneeling during the anthem but I served to protect the constitution and the rights of ALL Americans to protest and exercise their first amendment rights. Bosses do not get to pick and choose which unalienable rights as Americans can be exercised without threats of punishment. It goes against everything we stand for. Where do we draw the line? Which fundamental right will be threatened next? It’s a line that cannot be compromised or threatened at any cost and especially to preserve the monetary assets of those who intend to impinge upon it.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________
    Awesome take. I agree they should stand to but you’re 100% right. Thank you for your service.

  30. I hope the NFL treats the teams just like they do the players. For each infraction the fine goes higher. So first one a set amount, second one a higher amount on so on. And not just a infraction per game, if 5 players disrespect the anthem in one game that is 5 infractions! Do this and we will see how long these CEOs let the players do what they want. The owners voted on this, now it is their job to enforce it! The NFL should punish the ones that don’t.

  31. Yes, they are on the front lines. Their relatives, friends and people they are connected to by humanity are being murdered based on how they look, which just happens to be how most of the players look.

  32. “our players are on the front lines”. I would suggest police officers out at 2 a.m. investigating assaults, burglaries and shootings at 2 a.m. may be more on the front lines. But yes, sitting in a mansion at 2 a.m. perhaps qualifies.

  33. He is their employer. However, he’s also a part of the ownership group. He’s giving them the middle finger because the decision didn’t go his way.

  34. a man with integrity

    unlike the faux patriots who love the flag
    but hate everything it is supposed to stand for

  35. This comment section is comedy. Why exactly are so many of you upset with what a business owner mandates for his own employees? In what way is this offensive?

  36. At one person is showing that they can understand what others who aren’t like them go through if only a little.

  37. Fine team violators so much that it bankrupts them .. leaves the team unable to pay protesting players. I’m done watching NFL games anyway..too political.

  38. As a Patriots fan, I LOVE this…. Dusfunction runs RAMPANT in that organization……couldn’t happen to a more deserving group…..LOL!!!!

  39. This comment section baffles me. People are mad that he will allow his players to protest however they see fit and is willing to pay the fines? I don’t see how that is anything but awesome.

  40. Ok, we can’t win a darn thing, but we handled this whole thing right last year and this year.

    hey, the yankees look great again, maybe we have a QB, who knows?

  41. Trump thumpers want to cry and complain (and threaten) when someone mentions their precious 2nd amendment rights, then they cry and complain when players want to invoke their right to protest…… Typical.

    Bang on.

  42. If the team pays for player fines, does that count against the salary cap?

    If so, and there are $10m in fines, I bet he changes that stance pretty quickly.

  43. The players will be taking a knee in New York not due to social politics, but simply to say to Johnson and the ticket buying public….” No Mas ” for Jets football. LOL

  44. “There are some big, complicated issues that we’re all struggling with, and our players are on the front lines.”

    Uh, no. The front lines are out where normal men and women actually work for a living, and scramble paycheck to paycheck. Not at the NFL country club.

  45. Being on the frontlines means pushing for change in the community. There are plenty of players who are on the frontlines, let’s not be dumb here.

  46. He’s a smart man cause they way this rule was put into place without any representation from the union was wrong and Mr Johnson knows it. This will all end up in court.

  47. It would be awesome to see the players take a stand and refuse to play on Sundays, sadly that’s impossible because people have to feed their families.

  48. The league will harshly notify this young fellow that he can not jump in front of a league imposed fine to a player. Sad that he isn’t aware of this.

  49. cardinealsfan20 says:

    May 23, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Anyone who opposes kneeling supports the murder of African-Americans and other minorities by state sanctioned authorities. It is as simple as that.
    ________________________________________________

    This has to be the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. Players should have a right to kneel, it’s a free country, but equating wanting people to stand with advocating murder is beyond ridiculous!

  50. Dennis Allen’s Outgoing Persona says:
    May 23, 2018 at 2:57 pm
    “Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But I understand if they felt the need to protest.”

    Anthem issue aside, that’s a pretty BRAVE, NOBLE, AND TRULY AMERICAN statement from someone who cuts the check for their employees.

    There, fixed it for you.

  51. Players aren’t burning flags, stomping on flags, or being disruptive during the anthem. They are sitting or kneeling. How has this angered so many people. Lots of groups have historically not participated in the anthem. Jehovah Witnesses don’t stand for the anthem and will never participate in the pledge of allegiance, are you equally enraged by them?

    I consider myself s moderate conservative, and for years I have gotten more and more annoyed as liberals have shouted down and tried to get people fired for having not PC views, and it really pains me to see conservatives are now engaging in the exact same behavior.

  52. Wait someone who comprehends the actual meaning of freedom of speech ? Freedom to protest the very thing the orange clown and the nfl are attempting to do.. Censor

  53. vaphinfan says:
    May 23, 2018 at 4:29 pm
    What are they protesting about exactly?
    ———————————
    This question is exactly why protesting is necessary. Vaphin, they have been protesting the systematic murder and abuse of African Americans, which is still alive and well today. But there’s always a group of bigots trying to divert attention away from the actual issues and mislead the American public, just like they started saying “ALL lives matter” to detract from the “black lives matter” stance, which was also about getting the message out that Black people deserve rights TOO. They really should’ve put the “too” in that slogan.

  54. I say really follow etiquette and ban clapping after the National Anthem. Kick fans out who clap.

  55. Brobokil says:

    Vaphin, they have been protesting the systematic murder and abuse of African Americans, which is still alive and well today.
    ========================================================

    Then they protested Kaepernick’s unemployment. Then they protested Trump…. They took it out of control.

  56. I believe some folks don’t understand the first amendment. Free speech means that the government can’t punish you for the things you say or do unless you communicate a threat or break the law in some way.

  57. @beltwaytd says:

    Start your own league if you don’t like rules.
    ==================================================================================
    And you would watch every game!

  58. Apparently Woody Johnson, like all Trump appointees, is embarrassing himself in the UK. What a complete and utter disaster

  59. All these comments and not one about how many INNOCENT black lives were lost to law enforcement because they thought they saw a gun that wasn’t there.

  60. dynaco: Do you actually believe that THE existential threat to blacks comes from some racist LEO? As opposed to the daily reality of being slaughtered in the street by another black person without so much as a second thought?

  61. Wow so now the players are idiots for taking a stand!!!! Comments like these are why they will continue to protest I hope Mr. Johnson stands by his word too

  62. Wow, so now the players are idiots for protesting??? That’s a idiot thing to say. I hope you stand by your word Mr Johnson

  63. Everyone knows the fines can’t be larger than the CBA dictates, right? All these people hoping it will be in the millions, are off their rockers. It will be a few thousand at most.
    Owners which each have billions, spend more money on far more frivolous things.

  64. Fine if he wants to pay the fines for the players, but it better count against the cap. Then we’ll see how much stomach they have for it

  65. It is MY opinion that our Black, White, Spanish and other races that have fought for our country and FREEDOMS, ALSO gave us the God Given Right to choose what ever way they CHOOSE to recognize the National Anthem! The President served NO time in the armed forces, so i dare him to go into a ring and fight it out with one of these guys that choose to kneel. I sadly expect the President will lose dramatically! The Black Race has beeb put down for everything they do that’s different than our White people, and it’s HIGH TIME we recognize the RIGHT’S of EVERYONE!!! That’s MY story and i’m sticking to it!

  66. The national anthem has absolutely nothing to do with sports and should not be played at sporting events. Problem solved.

  67. smoothoperator says:
    May 23, 2018 at 5:44 pm
    I believe some folks don’t understand the first amendment. Free speech means that the government can’t punish you for the things you say or do unless you communicate a threat or break the law in some way.

    Apparently you don’t understand it either, because the 1st amendment does not cover you at your job and the gov’t is not the ones punishing the players. It will be their employer, who happen to have no gov’t affiliation!

  68. Interesting to see all the yahoos who have been banging on about employees respecting the wishes of their employer while at work tear down an employer for what he expects of his employees.

    I guess you’re only in favor of the employer’s rules when they match your enthusiasm for performative patriotism?

  69. The Jets owner has a right to pay the fines if he wants as other owners should have the right to fine players for kneeling. If I own a business and my employees are doing something that has a negative effect on my company’s bottom line, I should have the right to discipline the employee or not. After a while this could get very expensive for the Jets and we’ll see where the ownership is when that happens.

  70. The first fine should be $500,000, and double every time thereafter. That’ll shut idiots like Johnson up, and he’ll be asking his “employee’s” for remittance.

  71. If this jerk runs his mouth again about not playing by the rules, then ban him from the NFL for life.

    Time to start roasting the offenders of the rules and those who defile this nation by squatting.

  72. I hope the NFL starts the fines a $10,000 per player that kneels for the anthem and doubles it every week that a player kneels. By the end end of the year the fine would be $327,680,000.00 per player kneeling. Let’s see how deep this idiots pockets are. If they don’t want to do that then assess a 15 yard penalty per kneeling player. If 10 players kneel then the first 5 times the Jets get the ball they get assessed 15 yards and also the first 5 times the opposing team gets a possession the Jets get assessed a 15 yard penalty. Let’s see how they feel going 0-16. Hit them so it hurts.

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