The NFL did not hold a formal roll call vote in passing its controversial national anthem policy, instead opting to use a show of hands, league spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed to ESPN.
The informal decision to use a show of hands came after hours of debate and surprised some in the room, according to ESPN, which first reported earlier in the day that a formal vote wasn’t used as typically is the case with major rulings.
McCarthy told ESPN the show of hands process is used often and that there were zero nays.
The NFL’s new anthem policy requires players, coaches and personnel on the field to stand when the national anthem is played. The policy permits teams to choose to stay in the locker room during the national anthem, but calls for fines and punishment for any mode of disrespect.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners unanimously approved the anthem policy, but at least one owner, Jed York of the San Francisco 49ers, abstained. ESPN reports Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis also abstained from voting, though the NFL said otherwise.
The new policy has been divisive throughout the NFL since being announced Wednesday. Players claim they were not consulted and immediately threatened to challenge the policy. A terse statement from the NFL Players Association claimed the NFL and its owners went rogue in establishing anthem guidelines after an effort to work together with players.
“Our union will review the new ‘policy’ and challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement,” the NFLPA statement read.
The policy change has also drawn attention outside of football. President Donald Trump said he believes the NFL is “doing the right thing” with the change while Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Thursday slammed it as “idiotic” and “typical of the NFL.”
—Field Level Media