Arthur Blank says owners, players working to resolve National Anthem protests

The first day of the NFL owners meetings did not pass without some modicum of progress.

The league approved hedge-fund billionaire David Tepper as the Carolina Panthers’ new owner, therefore officially vaporizing sexual and racial dinosaur Jerry Richardson, who arrived and departed the owners’ meetings at a Buckhead hotel more quietly and more stealthily than most creatures from the Jurassic period.

If only resolving the anthem issue was so easy.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that owners spent “probably an hour and a half” discussing the issue of how to deal with players who choose to kneel for the national anthem, with a representative from all 32 teams speaking.

The issue became a flash point for more divisive comments from President Donald Trump, who during a speech in Alabama in September criticized the NFL for allowing Colin Kaepernick and other players to protest social injustices and police brutality during the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Blank, who has been among the faction of socially conscious owners who support the players’ right to exercise their First Amendment rights, nonetheless reiterated that he thinks players should stand for the anthem.

He also believes the NFL will adopt a policy stating that “in the near future.” But he added that it “probably won’t be tomorrow,” when the two-day meetings wrap up Wednesday.

“I think the NFL will make it clear that (standing for the anthem) is their desire, and the reason I would feel strongly about that on this club, and I would feel very disappointed (if a player protested), is we’re working together on a lot of stuff to address the issues. The issues haven’t been resolved, but the goal has been achieved and that’s to work together to find solutions. But it will take time.”

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