Report: NFL owners did not formally vote on anthem rule

After the NFL announced its new policy, reports began circulating that at least one owner didn't vote -- and a formal vote may not have even happened.

New York Jets chairman Christopher Johnson said he won’t levy any fines or punishment against players who eschew the stay-in-the-locker-room part of the policy and kneel or visibly protest during the anthem, and will pay any fine the team gets for such an action.

Then it came out that San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York abstained from voting.

And on Thursday, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham said on Twitter and “Outside the Lines” that there wasn’t a vote at all, not in the formal sense.

“Sources in the room told me there was no official vote for the anthem resolution,” Wickersham tweeted. “League execs polled owners and knew how they’d vote but didn’t hold an official vote, atypical for such a major resolution.”

Related: Players who have retired this offseason: 

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Nick Mangold, C, New York Jets

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James Harrison, LB, New England Patriots

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Richie Incognito, G, Buffalo Bills

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Gabe Ikard, C, Saints

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Emmett Cleary, T, Lions

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Rodney Adams, WR, Indianapolis Colts

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Joe Berger, G, Minnesota Vikings

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Danny Woodhead, RB, Baltimore Ravens

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C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Houston Texans

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Joe Thomas, T, Cleveland Browns

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Paul Posluszny, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Zach Strief, T, New Orleans Saints

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Antonio Cromartie, CB, Indianapolis Colts

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Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets

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Donnie Jones, P, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

David Harris, LB, New England Patriots

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Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals

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Dwight Freeney, DE, Indianapolis Colts

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Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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In a subsequent post, Wickersham wrote that one of the most eloquent speakers on the social-justice issues aspect was Oakland Raiders’ owner Mark Davis, and that Davis, like York, also abstained from voting.

Last year, Davis admitted in an interview with ESPN reporter Paul Gutierrez that while he initially didn’t want Raiders players to protest, the national climate around such issues led him to change his mind.

But if there was no formal vote, what did Davis and York abstain from? And why did commissioner Roger Goodell say there was a “unanimous” vote?

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