New York Giants Steve Tisch
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The New York Giants owner spoke out against the NFL’s new anthem policies, as well as President Trump’s support of them.

New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch has taken a stance in the NFL’s continuing debate about protests during the traditional pregame playing of the national anthem.

Tisch, speaking at this week’s Hollywood premiere of The Equalizer 2, stated that any protesting Giants players will not be penalized, coming down hard on President Donald Trump for suggesting any team do so.

“Hopefully he’ll have much more going on that he’s going have to deal with and should deal with and must deal with than worrying about what NFL players do,” Tisch told Mark Malkin of The Hollywood Reporter. “He has no understanding of why they take a knee or why they’re protesting. When the new season starts, I hope his priorities are not criticizing the NFL and telling owners what to do and what not to do.”

Tisch is one of the producers of the Denzel Washington film, which was released nationwide on Friday.

In an attempt to curtail the debates, the NFL mandated in May that protesting players could remain in the locker room during the anthem, but all protesting on-field personnel would be required to stand. Violators would be subjected to team discipline, be it a fine or suspension. Reports emerged earlier this week that the Miami Dolphins were planning to suspend protesting players as many as four games for demonstrations.

Tisch, however, said this would not be the case for the Giants.

“We support our players,” Tisch said. “They are not going to be punished. There is not going to be any punitive action taking place against them.”

Tisch’s comments about Trump stem from the President declaring on Twitter that the anthem debate was “alive and well again”. Trump has been an outspoken critic of the protests, which were begun by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during 2016 preseason games to protest police brutality against African-Americans. Released by the 49ers after the 2016 season, Kaepernick has yet to be signed by an NFL team, and many believe his protests are the reason.

During a political rally in September 2017, Trump publicly advocated for kneeling players to lose their jobs, infamously declaring “get that son of a b**** out of here!” Three Giants knelt for the anthem during the team’s ensuing game in Philadelphia, including safety Landon Collins, defensive linemen Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon. Though Collins and Harrison stood for each remaining anthem, Vernon kept his protest up throughout the season. Both Tisch and Giants co-owner John Mara released a statement after Trump’s September comments, labeling them “inappropriate, offensive and divisive”, praising their players for using “their NFL platform to make a positive difference in society”.

“I’ve played this game, I’ve been raised the right way,” Vernon said after his original protest. “I know what’s right and what’s wrong. Ain’t nobody will ever scare me. I don’t care if you’re the President or not. He ain’t my President. So that’s what it is.”

After the Philadelphia game, Collins wanted to make it clear that the protests were not against the country, flag, or military.

“We love our country to death,” Collins said. “But at the same time, we respect each other, and we have a family over here. We’re going to fight for each other.”

The Giants are set to begin training camp this week at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford.

Follow Geoff Magliocchetti on TWITTER