NY Giants owner, John Mara, was one of the more outspoken owners against kneeling – and other political demonstrations – during the national anthem back in 2017.
You can now add the NY Giants to the list of teams (which is every team now, I’d imagine) that have no problem having their players kneel during the national anthem or participating in other types of protesting/demonstrating and using their platform for off the field issues.
We’ve already seen NFL Commisher do a total 180 on his stance he held back during the original Colin Kaepernick phenomenon, and in the Joe Judge era of NY Giants football, players will be allowed to do as they please when it comes to protesting.
“We’re going to be very receptive of our team, and we’re going to support our players,” Judge told NJ Advance Media in a phone interview. “We’ll involve the players, be in there as coaches. The owners have been involved and have been phenomenal in listening.”
Quite the tone change from 2017 when John Mara claimed to receive more letters on the kneeling issue from outraged fans than any other issue during his tenure and that it had affected him, hinting he’d rather not see it take place – although Olivier Vernon did take part in some demonstrations and was not penalized by the team.
Although I find these change of stances to be disingenuous from Goodell and Mara and doubt their actual opinions on the matter have changed, I applaud them in some ways for finally coming to this side, even though I’m someone who does not like to mix politics with my sports.
In fairness, Mara did allow NY Giants personnel to attend Colin Kaepernick’s open workout which was a step in the right direction even before all this madness occurs.
This is America and if a guy wants to take a knee he should be able to do so, whether you agree with it or not.
As we all know, the powers that be quickly change their tunes based on how the issue at hand will affect the financial bottom line. In 2016, it was the other side that they were worried about upsetting, now it’s the activists that they are adhering to because it has become such a monumental issue and they are wielding massive power after some of the horrific events that have recently transpired across the country.
It’s also encouraging to see that Joe Judge is able to be a leader through this and listen to his players, as their opinions and feelings on these strong subjects matter.
While this boils down to about a 50/50 issue amongst the population, the players are the ones generating the money for the league so they should have a voice and be able to use it — again, no matter how you feel on the subject.
These are crazy times, and the last thing we need is for the NY Giants to take a crazy stance against one of the biggest political movements we’ve seen in decades.
Especially for Judge, who is entering his first year as head coach of the NY Giants, he needs to build trust with his players and this is a positive step forward in this regard. At the end of the day, human beings in general just want to feel like they’re being heard, and that’s the culture Judge is creating.
You can expect this to become a hot button issue once the season rolls around once again, but I feel confident from what I’ve seen out of Judge that he’s the kind of guy that can be reasonable and make compromises while making players feel like they are valued.
And that’s exactly what the NY Giants – and every NFL team – needs right now in this time of absolute chaos.