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NFL did not hold official vote on national anthem policy: report

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The NFL did not hold a formal vote among owners when approving its new policy requiring players to stand for the national anthem, ESPN reported Thursday.

Sources told ESPN that the league polled owners and knew how they would vote on the anthem proposal, but in an uncommon move did not take an official vote.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the vote was unanimous, but two owners — Jed York of the San Francisco 49ers and Mark Davis of the Oakland Raiders — abstained, ESPN reported.

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The league announced its new policy on Wednesday, which requires players on the field to stand for the national anthem. If they kneel or protest during the anthem, they will be subject to a fine.

The policy allows players to remain in the locker room during the anthem without penalty.

The new policy came after President Trump’s frequent criticism of players who kneeled in protest during the anthem, followed by calls on the league to punish them.

Trump suggested in an interview that aired Thursday morning — after the new policy had been announced — that players who don’t “stand proudly” during the national anthem “shouldn’t be in the country.”

Numerous NFL players took a knee during the national anthem prior to games for the past two seasons to protest racial inequality and social justice issues, such as police brutality against black men and women.

Two players who were among the first to take a knee during the 2016 season — Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid — are now free agents. They have filed separate lawsuits against the NFL claiming owners colluded to keep them off of a team because of their history of protests.

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