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The Buffalo News (New York)
The NFL Players Association filed a grievance on Tuesday against the league's new national anthem policy.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced in May that the league would enact a national anthem policy for the 2018 season that requires players and league personnel to either stand for the anthem or remain in the locker room.
The policy subjects teams to a fine if a player or any other personnel do not show respect for the anthem.
"Our union filed its non-injury grievance today on behalf of all players challenging the NFL's recently imposed anthem policy," the NFLPA said in a statement. "The union's claim is that this new policy, imposed by the NFL's governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights.
"In advance of our filing today, we proposed to the NFL to begin confidential discussions with the NFLPA Executive Committee to find a solution to this issue instead of immediately proceeding with litigation. The NFL has agreed to proceed with those discussions and we look forward to starting them soon."
Under Article 43 of the collective bargaining agreement, franchises have the right to implement "reasonable club rules."
The NFL will have 10 days to respond in writing to the accusations in the grievance.
NFLPA president Eric Winston told Sirius XM NFL Radio on Tuesday that he is hopeful the talks will lead to a compromise between the sides.
"Players are hoping to get together and come together with ownership and find a solution," said Winston. "I think that's what's best for the game. I think when we've done that, when we've had solutions that have come from both sides, that's been good."
The anthem issue has been a divisive one, with some feeling that players who don't stand for the song are being disrespectful to, among others, the U.S. military. Others feel it is the players' right to protest perceived social injustice peacefully.
Tepper wants change
New Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper wants to create a more open "family" atmosphere in the wake of the troubles that surrounded previous owner Jerry Richardson.
Tepper addressed this topic, the Richardson statue outside Bank of America Stadium and the team's coaching staff during Tuesday's introductory press conference with reporters.
"I like to have an open environment. Where everybody feels safe like a family," said Tepper, the founder of global hedge fund Appaloosa Management, based in Miami Beach, Fla. He paid $2.275 billion for the right to own the team.
The Panthers came under fire in December when Sports Illustrated published a report alleging that Richardson was accused of racial and sexual harassment. The 81-year-old Richardson, who elected to sell the team amid a league investigation, was fined $2.75 million by the NFL on June 28.
Tepper said on Tuesday that he was "contractually obligated" to leave the 13-foot bronze statue of Richardson outside of Bank of America Stadium.
The 60-year-old Tepper praised the coaching staff, namely head coach Ron Rivera, who has guided the Panthers to a 64-47-1 record and four postseason appearances in seven years. Carolina also won the NFC South in 2013-15 and advanced to the Super Bowl in 2015.
"You're actually blessed with a pretty good football side here," Tepper said. "A head coach who kind of understands and understands himself."
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