Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are preparing for the start of the 2018 NFL season, but that does not mean that they can get away from the hottest topic surrounding the league. If you guessed that the national anthem drama was still the most talked about headline in the NFL right now, you would be correct.
Now that the NFL has installed new rules surrounding the anthem, there has been a lot of backlash from players. The new rules state that any player on the field for the national anthem must stand. If players do not want to stand, they are welcome to remain in the locker room until after the national anthem.
In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, as shared by TMZ Sports, Brady discussed how the Patriots handled the entire anthem issue last season.
“We had meetings after practice, talking about how we wanted to deal with that particular situation at the time, whether it was taking a knee. I think there were a lot of really good, healthy conversations coming out of it in our locker room, you know?”
Brady continued on, talking about having mutual respect for every player in the locker room and how every player comes from a different background and situation.
“I’ve been playing sports long enough. Everyone comes from something different. And I think showing respect for everybody in a locker room — a team full of guys trying to go the same direction — you better have that empathy for everybody. That’s what sports are about.”
Plenty of teams opened up about meetings that they had and coming together to form some kind of protest. Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys took a knee before the national anthem, but stood for the anthem with arms locked. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers decided to lock arms throughout the anthem as well.
Donald Trump recently stated that he would like for players who still want to kneel during the anthem to contact him and discuss specific people that they would like pardoned. He said that he would like to hear about specific injustices that the system has caused to people that these NFL players know.
“I’m going to ask them to recommend to me people who were unfairly treated. You have a lot of people in the NFL in particular, but in sports leagues, they’re not proud enough to stand for our national anthem. I don’t like that. What I’m going to do is, I’m going to say to them instead of talk… I am going to ask all of those people to recommend to me — because that’s what they’re protesting — people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system. And I understand that.”
All of that being said, it will be interesting to see how much drama the NFL has throughout the season surrounding the national anthem. The new rules should help calm things down, but the players certainly aren’t going to keep quiet about their cause.