How Pat Shurmur is addressing anthem issue with Giants

The NFL’s new and controversial national-anthem directive is suddenly an issue this offseason, and while he has not yet broached the subject with his players, first-year Giants head coach Pat Shurmur says he knows exactly what he will be doing when he hears “The Star-Spangled Banner” playing before a game.

“I know certainly for me it’s very easy,’’ Shurmur said Tuesday after organized team activity practice No. 4 for the Giants.

“I’m gonna face the flag, take my cap off and listen to the anthem and be thankful that my family and I live in the greatest country in the world and be able to kinda reflect on and be thankful for all the sacrifice that a lot of people have gone through to help protect and secure our freedom. So that’s what it means to me. I think at some point we’ll talk about it as a team, and I trust our team will do the right thing.’’

NFL owners last week unanimously approved a new policy that requires all players and team personnel to stand if they are on the field for the national anthem. Players, if they prefer, can remain in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem. Teams are subject to fines if players on the field kneel or otherwise do not show respect for the anthem, and teams have the option to fine players for violating the new policy.

The time will come, Shurmur said, when he will discuss this with the Giants, but that time is not yet here.

“We’re gonna sorta let it settle for a little bit here,’’ Shurmur said. “It’s like any new rule, this is a new policy. I certainly trust that our players are going to do the right thing. I think we just let it settle for a minute. At some point we’ll sit and discuss it. We just haven’t done it yet.’’

The Giants this offseason signed defensive back Michael Thomas, who has a history of kneeling during the national anthem. He was ahead of the curve, kneeling for all 17 games in 2016 to decry social injustice. He took a knee early last season until Dolphins coach Adam Gase insisted all players stand for the national anthem or else remain in the locker room.

“Haven’t had a chance to sit down with my brothers on the team or have a conversation about it, so no reaction,’’ Thomas said of the NFL’s new policy. “This is my first year here. I am sure every organization is different.

“It is clear where everyone stands on this. I don’t know how many of you know me or did any research on me, but you all know who I am and where I stand.’’

Thomas, 28, graduated from Stanford with a degree in sociology and received his masters’ degree in business administration from the University of Miami.

Last season, Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon took a knee for the national anthem, his way to protest racial injustice and police brutality. Safety Landon Collins and defensive tackle Damon “Snacks’’ Harrison took a knee for one game and then stood beside Vernon, with their hands on his shoulder, as Vernon kneeled during the anthem before games.

Jets CEO Christopher Johnson has stated the Jets will not fine players who choose to kneel during the national anthem and will pay any fines the team is assessed. The Giants have not announced any deviation from the NFL’s policy.

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