Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said Tuesday that team members will not be punished for any national anthem protests, reportsThe Hollywood Reporter.
"We support our players,” Tisch said at the premiere of The Equalizer 2 — a film he produced. "They are not going to be punished. There is not going to be any punitive action taking place against them."
Tisch's comments came before the latest news on the league's national anthem debate — the NFL and NFLPA reached a standstill agreement Thursday declaring no new rules to be issued as discussions between the two parties continued. The statement came one day after the Associated Press reported that Dolphins players could possibly be suspended up to four games for not standing during the anthem. The decision is part of a team policy in a "Proper Anthem Conduct" section in a nine-page discipline document for the team.
President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that players who kneel more than once should be suspended the entire season without pay.
Tisch also made comments on Trump, but again, those were before Trump tweeted Friday.
"Hopefully he’ll have much more going on that he’s going have to deal with and should deal with and must deal with than worrying about what NFL players do,” Tisch said. "He has no understanding of why they take a knee or why they’re protesting. When the new season starts, I hope his priorities are not criticizing the NFL and telling owners what to do and what not to do."
NFL owners voted on a new national anthem policy in May, and there have been talks that some players are considering different ways to protest.
The new policy removes a requirement for players to be on the field for the anthem, and gives players the option to stay in the locker room. Teams will be fined for any personnel that "do not show proper respect for the flag and Anthem” on the sidelines.
The protests during the national anthem started in August 2016 when former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the 'Star-Spangled Banner' as a means of protesting racial inequality and police brutality. Dozens other NFL players, as well as numerous other athletes across America, ultimately joined him. The protests grew during the 2017 season after Trump criticized NFL players who chose to follow suit. Trump said owners should "fire" NFL players who protest the anthem and referred to them as "son[s] of b------". Players responded by protesting en masse.
Kaepernick hasn't played since the 2016 season.