NFL Owner Offers Team Money to Not Take a Knee

FILE- In a file photo from Sept. 24, 2017, Detroit Lions defensive end Armonty Bryant (97), defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson (91) and defensive end Cornelius Washington (90) take a knee during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, in Detroit. The sight of football players kneeling during the national anthem across the United States is the continuation of a tradition nearly as old the song itself. University of Michigan musicology professor Mark Clague says "The Star-Spangled Banner" has been a channel for protest since at least the 1840s. The lyrics were recast as an anti-slavery song and it's been used or reworked to push for racial equality, women's suffrage, prohibition and labor rights. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)

FILE- In a file photo from Sept. 24, 2017, Detroit Lions defensive end Armonty Bryant (97), defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (91) and defensive end Cornelius Washington (90) take a knee during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, in Detroit. The sight of football players kneeling during the national anthem across the United States is the continuation of a tradition nearly as old the song itself. University of Michigan musicology professor Mark Clague says “The Star-Spangled Banner” has been a channel for protest since at least the 1840s. The lyrics were recast as an anti-slavery song and it’s been used or reworked to push for racial equality, women’s suffrage, prohibition and labor rights. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)

The Detroit Lions owner Martha Ford reportedly asked her players not to kneel during the singing of the national anthem. Ford, 92, made the request during a team meeting last week, the Detroit Free Press reported, offering to donate money to the political cause of their choice in exchange for them finding alternate ways to protest racial injustice.

“As a team, we came together, talked to Mrs. Ford, the owners, and we understand the issues, for the most part, generally,” running back Ameer Abdullah said. “Me personally, I definitely want to be an aid in growing the social awareness in this country, that it is a race problem in this country.”

“We do dance around the topic a lot and Mrs. Ford has come forward and said that as long as we compromise as a team and unify and make a unified demonstration, she will back us financially,” Abdullah added. “So I’m definitely going to hold her to her word.”

As noted by The Atlantic Black Star, “more than 200 NFL players and team owners refused to stand for the national anthem last month after President Donald Trump attacked players who took a knee in protest and urged the league to “fire the ‘sons of b-tches’ who do so.”

Some Lions players expressed satisfaction with Ford’s offer.

“As far as the kneeling, she just I guess felt like there was better ways to get the point across,” defensive end Cornelius Washington told the newspaper. “And at this point, people know what we’re kneeling for so now trying to take that next step in the plan of action to foster change is, that’s the next part and that’s the part she’s willing to get behind.”

“I don’t think it’s a cure-all kind of thing, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Washington added. “And then for somebody as powerful as her to say to come in and say she’ll stand up and she’ll back and put her name on whatever it is that we want to do, whatever it is that we want to attack, try to bring some real change about for the issues, to me that’s big.”

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