Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank believes that players have the right to express themselves when it comes to the national anthem.
Kneeling. Locking arms. Turning away from the flag. It doesn’t matter how you express yourself as long as it is in a respectful way. That is the message that Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank told Justin Felder of Fox 5 Atlanta.
Kneeling during the national anthem has been talked about for over a year now. The protest, which was started by former San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick, has now been adopted by multiple athletes in multiple sports around the nation, and has been met with scrutiny from fans and even the President of the United States.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said last Sunday that if anybody on his team “disrespects” the flag, they won’t play. This led to multiple people wondering if Jones would bench Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott if they decided to take part in the protest as well.
With multiple protests going on around the league and it now becoming a tradition to check and see if any players are kneeling, the NFL and its owners are now proposing a rule that would force players to stand for the national anthem. Currently, the rulebook says the players should stand for the anthem, but it isn’t required.
More news even came out about players kneeling when Vice President Mike Pence attended the Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers game last week and left after seeing some 49ers players kneeling for the anthem. Some called it a P.R. stunt.
The Atlanta Falcons host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Oct. 15 and expect no repercussions if players kneel, lock arms or do some kind of protest on the Atlanta sidelines as their owner has their back.