Several Ravens players are applauding a joint decision by the NFL and the NFL Players Association to table the league’s national anthem policy requiring players to either stand during the playing of the anthem or remain in the locker room until both sides can engage in deeper discussions of what to do next.
“It’s good that they’re talking,” free safety Eric Weddle said Friday. “Obviously it’s a good sign that the owners and the players association are having a dialogue and can come to a solution, whatever the case may be, and move forward. I know here, it’s about winning ballgames and winning championships and about the team. Everyone puts selfish desires aside and puts the team first. That’s what we’re about. Hopefully, something comes up. I’m just worried about my job and this team. Whatever they decide, they’ll decide, and I’ll follow.”
Added quarterback Joe Flacco: “I wish I could answer this question honestly and say I haven’t heard anything because I hadn’t until a couple minutes ago. But I think it’s good both sides are talking, and we’ll figure something out.”
The players’ comments were delivered one day after news surfaced that the NFL and NFLPA agreed to push the pause button on the league’s revised national anthem policy requiring players and league personnel to stand for the anthem or potentially face fines or suspensions so that the NFL and NFLPA can discuss the issue over the next several weeks.
The joint statement from both bodies came only hours after it was reported that the Miami Dolphins announced that they would issue suspensions of up to four games for players who protested on the field during the national anthem this season via their “Proper Anthem Conduct” policy.
Coach John Harbaugh endorsed the idea of more conversation between the NFL and NFLPA.
“That’s good that they’re having dialogue,” he said. “I’m happy about that. It’s positive.”
About a dozen Ravens were among the players throughout the league who knelt during the anthem Sept. 24 — one day after President Donald J. Trump lashed out at players for their protests. Players knelt in prayer before the anthem — and were booed for it — the next weekend in Baltimore. No Ravens players or coaches knelt during the anthem for the remainder of the season.
Weddle said he does not have an opinion on what he would like the franchise to do if the NFL’s anthem policy is enacted during the regular season.
“It doesn’t really matter what I want or my desire,” he said. “It’s whatever our organization and our team decide. We’ve had discussions and meetings, but that’s between the organization and us. When our owner decides he wants to say something, he’ll say something. But that’s between us and what we decide as Ravens.”