NY Jets owner will pay fines if players violate anthem policy

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Derick Waller reports from outside Met Life Stadium. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The New York Jets continue to try to find a middle ground on the national anthem controversy.

Last season they linked arms instead of kneeling, and now owner Christopher Johnson says if players choose to kneel they will not face financial penalties, despite a new NFL policy.

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His statement reads:

"I plan to sit in the very near term with Coach Bowles and our players to discuss today's decision regarding the National Anthem. As I have in the past, I will support our players wherever we land as a team. Our focus is not on imposing any Club rules, fines, or restrictions. Instead we will continue to work closely with our players to constructively advance social justice issues that are important to us. I remain extremely proud of how we demonstrated unity last season as well as our players' commitment to strengthening our communities."



The protests against racial injustice started with then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick before spreading league-wide.

On Wednesday, team owners voted to impose fines if players kneel. They say players can stay in the locker room instead.

But the Players Union says they were not consulted about the change and may fight it.

Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton called the ruling outrageous.

"We have a right to protest. If people want the right to protest at their work site. What the NFL is doing is a threat to anybody saying that I want to have any level of protest at my work site," Sharpton said.

President Donald Trump has heavily criticized the protests. The ownership of the Jets has close ties to the Republican Party. Christopher Johnson's brother was President Trump's pick to take over as ambassador the United Kingdom.

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