The NFL announced a policy change this week for the national anthem, kneeling and player protests. The league decided that players now have the choice of staying in the locker room for the national anthem, however displays of vaguely defined “disrespect” will result in a fine for the team by the league. Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan released a statement on Thursday about the new policy and head coach Doug Marrone declined to really say much about the policy at his press conference on Thursday, as the rule had just come down.
After the Jaguars second organized team activity on Thursday, veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell was asked about the issue when he met the media.
“I think first things first, the ultimate goal is to try to create some social change. There are issues that I believe in strongly and a lot of my peers believe in strongly, and we want to find a way to create change. I am looking forward to seeing what [happens with] the social committee fund that they just put together with Malcolm Jenkins and the other guys working together communicating with all of us,” Campbell said about his reaction to the NFL’s new policy. “We can try to put some good things in the community. They are showing that they want to help as far as the actual way of using your platform to try to take a stand. There are other ways I’m sure that they will figure out – ways to use your platform to try to create positive change in the community. It’s always hard when you get to the thick and thin trying to figure out which ways to do things to try to make a change. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to create change.”
Personally, I’m perplexed as to why the NFL pulled an issue out of the grave with the new rule, as it hadn’t been a talking point since about mid-season last year, but that’s another topic for another day. As for Campbell, he clearly understands it’s a sensitive subject but he continuously points out that using the platform to create change is the ultimate goal.
“Every guy has a different mentality. At the end of the day, I know that most of the guys have the mentality of wanting to do something positive,” Campbell said when asked about anticipated player push back from the new policy. “When you get people in your family and your friends and stuff pulling you different ways and wanting you to use your platform to make change, and you want to yourself … At the end of the day, I think the biggest thing is for us to try to take action in the communities and try to do things one at a time. As far as being limited or restricted or stuff, that is the rules of the game. You kind of just have to deal with what comes.”
The Jaguars grabbed headlines last season with a show of solidarity prior to their match up in London with the Baltimore Ravens, with all of the players and owner Shad Khan locking arms during the playing of the anthem. It was the first in a long day of protests and shows of solidarity by the players after remarks by the President.