According to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the league's new policy mandating that all players and team and league personnel who are on the field for the singing of the national anthem must stand during the anthem or else be subject to penalties was approved by a unanimous vote of NFL owners.
On Wednesday, however, 49ers owner Jed York announced that he had. On Thursday afternoon ESPN's Outside the Lines reported something that, if true, shows Goodell's claim to be even less accurate.
According to Seth Wickersham, the owners did not hold a formal vote on the new policy. Instead, league executives just polled owners and then "knew how they would vote."
There was also apparently a second abstention from that poll, as Raiders owner Mark Davis reportedly abstained as well.
Also told that Mark Davis was one of the most eloquent speakers on the social justice issues—and that he abstained from the vote as well.— Seth Wickersham (@SethWickersham) May 24, 2018
Jets chairman Christopher Johnson (who is running the team while his brother, Jets owner Woody Johnson, serves as the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom) incurred by any Jets players for violating the policy.
According to Jim Trotter of NFL.com there were 8-10 owners who, before the meetings, expressed support for keeping the league's anthem policy "as is," as they believed the protests were fading and the league should instead focus on community work being done by players.
The anthem vote is particularly interesting in that 8-10 owners - before the meetings - privately expressed support for keeping policy as is. Some told me they believed the protests were fading and the focus should be on the positive community work being done by players/league.— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) May 24, 2018
It seems fairly clear that, whether one agrees with the actual policy or not, the NFL's roll-out and messaging campaign surrounding the policy has not gone well.