When the NFL announced its owners had unanimously approved a new national anthem policy Wednesday morning, the league received backlash from many players and other members of the sport.
The policy requires players to stand if they are on the field but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they choose. If a player is on the field and does not stand for the anthem, their team will be fined by the NFL.
Broncos reporter Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic joined Les Shapiro and Eric Goodman of Afternoon Drive on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 to share her thoughts on the ruling.
“I think the way it’s labeled as this compromise is ridiculous,” Jhabvala said. “The owners, they are the employers, they can mandate this type of thing, but saying it’s something where they’re meeting the players halfway is ridiculous. The NFLPA says it was never even consulted.”
Jhabvala explained that players like Derek Wolfe, Domata Peko and Matt Paradis thought the new rule was reasonable and they did not have an issue with it. Still, other NFL players on Twitter shared their discontent with the policy.
Linebacker Brandon Marshall made headlines for his participation in anthem protests during the 2016 season, but opted against kneeling last season. Jhabvala says that she does not expect Marshall or his teammates to remain in the locker room this season.
“I don’t think any of the Broncos would, to be honest with you, that’s just my gut feeling,” Jhabvala said. “I know when we talked to Brandon Marshall last year, he certainly stood by his decision to do it and he still believes in his reasons for doing it. But he said this time he has no desire to do it again.”
The NBA is only other major sports league that has an anthem policy that requires players to stand for the anthem. However, commissioner Adam Silver has not said what would happen if a player were to kneel. Jhabvala also points out that the two situations are entirely different given the support that NBA players receive.
“We compare it to the NBA, but there’s really no comparison,” Jhabvala said. “Yes, the NBA has this rule where they mandate players to stand, but the NBA also has fully guaranteed contracts. They also have owners and players and coaches who have spoken out repeatedly. They have more support than the NFL players do.”
To listen to the full interview, including Jhabvala’s thoughts on the position battle at running back, click here or listen to the podcast below.
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