The NFL announced Wednesday that players are no longer required to be on the field during the performance of the national anthem prior to games, but if they are they must stand or risk their teams being fined.
The fact that Johnson will pay any fines out of his own pocket and not sanction any players who may want to demonstrate during the anthem made it more palatable that he join his fellow owners in approving the anthem protocol.
The movement gained momentum a year later when President Donald Trump referred to those who took the knee as "sons of b*****s" who should "get off the field right now". He prefers to have all of his players stand while the anthem is playing.
"I agree with people needing to respect the flag, but right now not everyone has their liberty and equality so I think they have the right to protest and if they don't you're taking away their first amendment", Leah Nichols of Mt. Laurel, NJ, said.
Asked why he abstained, York said, "I think there are a lot of reasons, and I'm not going to get into all of them. The fact that he's not in the league any more is a statement to what others feel about it".
The NFL players' association, however, said it was never consulted about the construction of the policy and will "challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement".
Another possible option would have been to change up the pregame routine entirely, keeping teams in their respective locker rooms until after the anthem had played.
"I think we've come out at a place that we as a group and the league are comfortable with", Rooney said.
President Donald Trump has commented on the NFL's new rule against USA national-anthem protests, giving it his broad support and suggesting that players seeking to protest during the anthem should perhaps leave the US. I think it's disgraceful.
By Wednesday, they'd lost their minds - or possibly just panicked - and agreed unanimously to give players and others associated with National Football League franchises the option of remaining in their locker room for the anthem.
Silver did not say what would happen if any players refused to stand for the anthem.
It should come as no surprise that Trump is in support of this new policy, which he still views as being too lenient on players.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the protests in 2016 as a way of drawing attention to police brutality, social injustice and racial inequity.
"They know I will stand up for them". Players are allowed to stay in the locker rooms during the Anthem, which effectively silences their protests.