NFL owners reportedly didn't vote on the league's new national anthem policy

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 abstained from voting. 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. 

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) volunteered to pay all fines 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.   

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. 

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

Our Latest Stories