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POSITION BATTLE

THE NFL NOW REQUIRES PLAYERS TO STAND FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM—OR FACE FINES. BUT THE NEW RULE ONLY INTENSIFIED THE LEAGUE'S DEBATE OVER PATRIOTISM AND FREE SPEECH
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What NFL owners did today was thwart the players' constitutional rights to express themselves and use our platform to draw attention to social injustices like racial inequality in our country. Everyone loses when voices get stifled.

While I disagree with this decision, I will not let it silence me or stop me from fighting.

—MALCOLM JENKINS EAGLES SAFETY

"If somebody [on the Jets] takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organization, by me, not the players.

—CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON JETS CHAIRMAN

"Appropriate respect for flag and anthem" implies that guys were being disrespectful towards it. Which is an opinion. Most people who believe that ignore the responses from the players and more importantly why men chose to protest.

—TORREY SMITH PANTHERS RECEIVER

This is fear of a diminished bottom line. It's also fear of a president turning his base against a corporation. This is not patriotism .... These owners don't love America more than the players demonstrating and taking real action to improve it.

—CHRIS LONG EAGLES DEFENSIVE END

I'll be out there standing.

—DAK PRESCOTT COWBOYS QUARTERBACK

I can speak for myself: I'll be out there, standing for the anthem. When it comes to the team policy, that's something as a team we'll have to get into.

—MATT PARADIS BRONCOS CENTER

I believe in standing for the flag. To me, the flag represents the ideas and the ideals that make us America. I also believe in the freedoms the flag represents and that people can speak for themselves. I know this: Our players respect the flag and what it represents.

—JOHN HARBAUGH RAVENS COACH

If the team says, 'This is what we're doing,' and ownership [does too], you either deal with it or you're probably going to get cut.... You have to adhere to the rules and if not, they'll find a way to get you up out of there.

RAMON FOSTER STEELERS GUARD

There are still plenty of ways to use our voice and platform.

—RICHARD SHERMAN 49ERS CORNERBACK

I was proud of my team last year. They stood for the anthem. I think it's important that we stand for the anthem. I think it's important that we represent our country the right way, the flag the right way.

—MIKE ZIMMER VIKINGS COACH