Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf said on Friday the team’s ownership supports the NFL’s new national anthem policy, which gives players the option to stay in the locker room for the anthem but mandates they stand if they take the field.
Wilf did not say whether the Vikings would be OK if a player chose to stay in the locker room for the anthem, referring again to the league’s policy. He added the team has consulted with players on social justice issues and could announce some new initiatives in the coming weeks.
“Whatever we do, we’re going to do as a team,” Wilf said, in the first comments from Vikings ownership on the anthem policy. “That involves working on social justice issues, hearing from the players and really partnering with them. We’ve been in the process of having those conversations to do some great things in the community as they have done for many years, but more focused on some of the social justice issues that are of concern to them. We look forward to advancing some of the great things we do in the community.”
Mark and Zygi Wilf linked arms with players on the sideline before the Vikings’ game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sept. 24, after President Donald Trump called for the NFL to fire players who protested the anthem on the field. A number of Vikings players linked arms during the anthem for several weeks after Trump’s comments, but no player took a knee on the field last season.
Last month, coach Mike Zimmer praised the way his players handled themselves during the anthem last season, saying, “I think it’s important we stand for the anthem,” and adding, “A lot of people have died for that flag. That flag represents our country and what we stand for.”
When asked if Vikings ownership would accept players staying in the locker room for the anthem, Wilf also referenced the military.
“Our players are very respectful — and our ownership, our organization, our franchise — of the military and what that flag means,” Wilf said. “I can tell you as a son of immigrants I think it’s very important for our ownership. I think we all understand that. We’re in a good place on all this and we just look forward to really working together.”