Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman reports that several NFL players are plotting out various ways to get around the league’s new anthem policy.
According to Freeman, “As the national anthem plays across NFL fields next season, you might see a handful of players raising their fists.
“Others might sit on the bench. Or stay in the tunnel. They could wear hats with a message on them. They may kneel momentarily between quarters of a game.”
The NFL recently created a new policy regarding player conduct during the anthem. The new rule announced on May 23 maintains that players can stay in the locker room if they are not interested in standing for the anthem but that if they do take to the sidelines, they must stand during the song.
If a player comes to the sidelines and does not respect the anthem, the player’s team will get fined. In addition, the team would have the right to enforce additional discipline on the player as they see fit.
One player told Freeman, “We won’t allow the NFL or Trump to bully us.”
It does appear, however, that the players have some support to fall back on. According to Freeman, NFL coaches strongly disapprove of the new anthem policy.
Several assistants said the mandate potentially could create massive locker room issues that coaches will have to calm.
When kneeling, players were on the field with teammates. Some coaches fear that if protesting players stay in the locker room while others are on the field, it would lead to more of a divide.
One coach feared a plausible scenario where some players stay in the locker room during the anthem to avoid the team getting fined, some players protest on the field not caring about the fines and other players do neither. Teams could have three different groups of players doing three different things.
Whether players partake in all or none of these alternative methods of protest, remains to be seen. However, it looks like this most recent anthem policy change may not be the last.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn