The national anthem protest has been sweeping the NFL and shows no signs of abating, and with a new Alliance of American Football to be launched on Feb. 9, 2019, the question needed to ask: Will fans see the same stunt in the new spring league?
All-Pro Jared Allen was one of the initial investors of the new league and was named player relations director. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, he revealed that the co-founders like Bill Polian and Charlie Ebersol talked about that possibility and what they are going to do about it.
“The Alliance, we want to support our athletes in all of their endeavors. It’s very important to work with that team, in that community, and have our players in the community doing philanthropic endeavors,” he said. “That is very important.”
However, one of the policies they are going to implement is that if the players will go out on the field, they are required to stand during the playing of the national anthem. If they want to make a statement, they can stay in the locker room if they want.
“You will be required to stand. … Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday—we want you to be in your community,” Allen said. “As a guy who has his own charity, I want guys to be passionate about the causes they have. We’re fully supportive.”
Allen said that players should look at the profession as a job, and “just like any job, you’ve got to have rules.”
The Alliance of American Football is seen as a rival to the XFL, which is the pet project of WWE owner Vince McMahon. Games of both leagues will be aired at CBS. Initially, there are eight teams participating, with 50 players each. Each team will represent a regional market and must choose from a roster of players from where they last played in the college or NFL.
Apart from Ebersol, Allen, and Polian, among the investors of the Alliance are The Chernin Group, Slow Ventures, Founders Fund, Adrian Fenty and M Ventures by Charles King.