STANDING UP

New York Jets Co-Owner: I’ll Pay the Fines for My Players Who Kneel During Anthem

Shortly after the NFL announced new rules punishing teams for kneeling on-field during the national anthem, New York Jets co-owner and chairman Christopher Johnson announced that he will cover any of his players’ fines should they decide to kneel. “Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But I understand if they felt the need to protest,” Johnson told Newsday. “There are some big, complicated issues that we’re all struggling with, and our players are on the front lines. I don’t want to come down on them like a ton of bricks, and I won’t.” Owners agreed Wednesday to rules that allow players and personnel to stay in the locker room during the anthem, but if they are on-field they must stand or their team will be fined. “That’s just something I’ll have to bear,” Johnson said of having to pay out of pocket for his players’ kneeling. The Jets are co-owned by Johnson’s brother, Woody Johnson, who is on leave to serve as President Trump’s ambassador to the United Kingdom.