Report: NFL owners did not formally vote on anthem rule

Shutdown Corner

It became clear almost immediately after the NFL announced its heavily flawed new national anthem rule on Wednesday that not everyone was on board.

New York Jets chairman Christopher Johnson said he won’t levy any fines or punishment against players who eschew the stay-in-the-locker-room part of the policy and kneel or visibly protest during the anthem, and will pay any fine the team gets for such an action.

Then it came out that San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York abstained from voting.

And on Thursday, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham said on Twitter and “Outside the Lines” that there wasn’t a vote at all, not in the formal sense.

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis reportedly abstained from voting on the NFL’s new anthem policy. (AP)
Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis reportedly abstained from voting on the NFL’s new anthem policy. (AP)

“Sources in the room told me there was no official vote for the anthem resolution,” Wickersham tweeted. “League execs polled owners and knew how they’d vote but didn’t hold an official vote, atypical for such a major resolution.”

In a subsequent post, Wickersham wrote that one of the most eloquent speakers on social justice issues was Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis, and that Davis, like York, also abstained from voting.

Last year, Davis admitted in an interview with ESPN reporter Paul Gutierrez that while he initially didn’t want Raiders players to protest, the national climate around such issues led him to change his mind.

But if there was no formal vote, what did Davis and York abstain from? And why did commissioner Roger Goodell say there was a “unanimous” vote?


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