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NY Jets chairman says he'll foot the bill for any fines incurred by his kneeling football players

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New York Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson says that he'll pay any fines assessed to his players should they decide to kneel outside of the locker room during the playing of the national anthem.

Johnson told Newsday that he would foot the bill shortly after news broke that the NFL banned kneeling during the anthem.

What's the deal with the ban?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday that NFL owners were in agreement that no player will kneel during the national anthem while on the field or sidelines.

Instead, players could simply opt to remain inside the locker rooms until the playing or performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" concluded.

Goodell's statement added that teams would be fined if they violated the newly revised policy.

“This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem,” Goodell's statement added. “Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room until after the anthem has been performed.”

And what's Johnson saying?

Johnson told Newsday that Jets players can protest any which way they see fit without having to fear blowback from the team, despite Goodell's announcement.

"I do not like imposing any club-specific rules," Johnson said. "If somebody [on the Jets] takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organization, by me, not the players."

"I never want to put restrictions on the speech of our players," he added. "Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But I understand if they felt the need to protest. There are some big, complicated issues that we’re all struggling with, and our players are on the front lines."

Johnson noted that he doesn't want to "come down on [players] like a ton of bricks."

"There will be no club fines or suspensions or any sort of repercussions," he reiterated. "If the team gets fined, that’s just something I’ll have to bear."

A similar statement was published on the Jets' website.

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