On Monday, the NFL announced a new national anthem policy that allows players to stay in the locker room but leaves open the possibility of fines for players who choose not to stand during the anthem. Former Patriots defensive end Chris Long said the new rules reflect the owners’ fear of their bottom line, as well as President Donald Trump, not concerns about patriotism.
“Don’t get it confused,” Long wrote on Twitter. “These owners don’t love America more than the players demonstrating and taking real action to improve it.”
Long, who won a Super Bowl in New England before doing the same with the Philadelphia Eagles, has not kneeled during the anthem. However, he has demonstrated his support for the players who are doing so to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
The NFL’s new policy states that all league personnel on the field “shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.” Players are permitted to stay in the locker room for the anthem, but if they do not stand, their team will be fined. The policy also allows for commissioner Roger Goodell to discipline anyone who does not stand.
Long wrote that he remains committed to affecting change with his platform. When the Patriots won Super Bowl LI, he elected not to visit Trump’s White House. He said before the Super Bowl in February that he would make the same choice if the Eagles won.