Lions still sorting out anthem policy behind the scenes

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia, middle, said the team's anthem policy is "something that will be kept internal.”

Allen Park — As the last handful of NFL teams report to training camp, the league and its players association continue to go back and forth on the implementation of a new national anthem policy, while a handful of players and owners draw battle lines on the topic.

For the Detroit Lions, the hot-button issue is being discussed behind closed doors.

“I’ve addressed the anthem issue before,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. “The league is working on a policy there. They issued a policy. We’re talking about it internally here. That’s something that will be kept internal.”

That policy, a May decree that came down from commissioner Roger Goodell, declared players and league personnel would be required to stand for the anthem or be subject to discipline. That was later rescinded and tabled after the NFLPA filed a grievance.

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“The NFL and NFLPA, through recent discussions, have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue,” the two sides wrote in a joint statement. “In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA's grievance and on the NFL's anthem policy. No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing.

"The NFL and NFLPA reflect the great values of America, which are repeatedly demonstrated by the many players doing extraordinary work in communities across our country to promote equality, fairness and justice.

"Our shared focus will remain on finding a solution to the anthem issue through mutual, good faith commitments, outside of litigation.”

Reportedly, the two sides met Friday to continue working on a satisfactory resolution.

Lions receiver Golden Tate said the topic had been discussed in the locker room, but declined to speak further on the issue until a conclusion was reached.

“That’s something we’re discussing internally and we’ve got a little time until the first game,” Tate said. “That’s something we’re going to handle. Discussions are being had inside our locker room and I’m sure you guys will be informed when we make a decision or come up with a solution.”

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began using the anthem to protest the oppression of minorities in the country in 2016. The trend slowly spread and peaked last September, part of a league-wide response to president Donald Trump's rhetoric against the protesting players.