New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch will not punish his players for any anthem displays of protest and hopes that President Donald Trump will focus on other issues, he told The Hollywood Reporter Tuesday.
“Hopefully he’ll have much more going on that he’s going have to deal with and should deal with and must deal with than worrying about what NFL players do,” Tisch told The Hollywood Reporter Tuesday night at the premiere of The Equalizer 2. “He has no understanding of why they take a knee or why they’re protesting. When the new season starts, I hope his priorities are not criticizing the NFL and telling owners what to do and what not to do.”
Tisch added a statement of support for his players:
“We support our players,” Tisch said. “They are not going to be punished. There is not going to be any punitive action taking place against them.”
His comments come during a week when issues surrounding the anthem have resurfaced in part due to a joint statement released by the NFL and NFPA Thursday. That statement included that there will be no new rules issued relating to the national anthem, and that none will be enforced over the “next several weeks” while they continue to have “confidential discussions.”
Trump responded to this statement on Twitter Friday, offering his solution.
The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again - can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!
“The NFL national anthem debate is alive and well again — can’t believe it!” Trump tweeted. “Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!”
How NFL players reacted during the national anthem in Week 5
How NFL players reacted during the national anthem in Week 5
Oct 9, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (left) and linebacker Anthony Barr (center) sing the national anthem prior to a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Albert Wilson (12) sits during the national anthem before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; The New York Jets lock arms for the national anthem before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 08: Rodney McLeod #23, Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles raise their fists in protest during the playing of the National Anthem as teammate Chris Long #56 shows support before a game against the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field on October 8, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Arizona Cardinals 34-7. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 08: Xavier Cooper #96 of the San Francisco 49ers and other members of the team kneel during the National Anthem before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 08: Members of the Jacksonville Jaguars stand for the National Anthem before the start of the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: The Los Angeles Rams are seen during the national anthem before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 08: Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, center, stands with arms locked with his team during the playing of the national anthem prior to the start of the game between the Carolina Panthers and the Detroit Lions on October 8, 2017 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Carolina defeated Detroit 27-24. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 09: The Minnesota Vikings lock arms during the national anthem prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on October 9, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 08: Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins (27), Eagles S Rodney McLeod (23), and Eagles DE Chris Long (56) stand together during the National Anthem before the game between the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles on October 08, 2017 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters (22) sits during the National Anthem before the football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans on October 8, 2017 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Oct 8, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts players and personnel stand during the playing of the National Anthem before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
NFL owners voted in May on a new anthem policy for the upcoming season, and the NFLPA has since filed an official grievance. The policy gives players the option of staying in the locker room during the national anthem if they don’t want to stand, and players who choose to remain on field will be required to stand.
But if a player or team employee is on the field during the anthem and chooses not to stand, that player’s franchise will be fined. Additionally, players and employees who choose to attend the anthem ceremonies but do not stand will also be eligible for a fine by their franchise, if the team chooses to levy one.
Tisch isn’t the only team official to say that he won’t punish players: New York Jets chairman Christopher Johnson said shortly after the new rule passed that he will pay any fines incurred by players who kneel.