Philadelphia Eagles

Jeff Lurie releases statement in light of NFL's national anthem policy

Jeff Lurie releases statement in light of NFL's national anthem policy

The NFL’s new policy that aims to eliminate on-field demonstrations during the playing of the national anthem has been the biggest news of the day. 

The policy (outlined here) has been met with plenty of reactions, even from a couple notable Eagles players (see story)

On Wednesday evening, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie released the following statement: 

I have always believed it is the responsibility of sports teams to be very proactive in our communities. In this great country of ours, there are so many people who are hurting and marginalized, which is why I am proud of our players for continuously working to influence positive change. Their words and actions have demonstrated not only that they have a great deal of respect for our country, but also that they are committed to finding productive ways to fight social injustice, poverty and other societal issues that are important to all of us. We must continue to work together in creative and dynamic ways to make our communities stronger and better with equal opportunities for all.

Lurie is considered one of the more socially aware owners in the NFL and his players have been very appreciative of his support in the past. Lurie even joined his team on the field during this season in September after President Donald Trump publicly said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now.'"

But this statement doesn’t really answer any questions. 

While it’s noteworthy that Lurie is proud of players who fight for positive change and at least he mentioned the reason players are protesting in the first place, the Eagles’ owner didn’t address any specifics about how the Eagles will address the new anthem policy and possible fines that could be levied by the NFL to the Eagles. Nor did Lurie address if or how the Eagles would discipline players now that the power to do so is in their hands. 

In fact, Lurie didn’t specifically mention the anthem or protests at all. 

It was first reported that the policy passed unanimously, but then it was revealed that 49ers owner Jed York abstained from the vote. Lurie, presumably, voted for the policy. At least we know he didn’t vote against it. 

Earlier in the day, Jets chairman Christopher Johnson said his team would support any players who wanted to protest during the anthem and would not fine them.

Lurie’s statement fell short of answering some important questions. 

Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, others react to NFL's national anthem policy

Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, others react to NFL's national anthem policy

Updated: 9:35 p.m.

As expected, the reactions started pouring in Wednesday when the NFL announced its new national anthem policy.

From players to organizations and groups outside of football, many are acknowledging the league's polarizing decision.

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie released a statement Wednesday night (see story). Here's a look at how his team could be affected (see story), while players have started to express their thoughts on the policy.

"Ultimately it is taking the players' voice away," Lane Johnson told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn. "I think there will be some backlash from their decision."

Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long also released statements on their Twitter accounts.

Here's a look at some of the reactions:

What NFL kickoff rule changes mean for Eagles

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USA Today Images

What NFL kickoff rule changes mean for Eagles

The NFL is changing the kickoff rules again in an attempt to make the most dangerous play in the game a little safer.

There will be a trial run in 2018 and the league will take a look at its findings next spring.

For now, here are the basics of the new kickoff rules:

• No more running starts for kicking team

• Eight of 11 kick returning players must be in setup zone (15 yards from the ball)

• No blocking in setup zone before the ball is touched

• No more two-man wedge blocks

• Kickoff team must have five players on each side of the ball

So what does this mean for the Eagles and Dave Fipp’s unit, which has been considered one of the best in the league since he took over?

Well, we’ll start with the Eagles when they kick off because that’s where we might see the most drastic change. Last season, Jake Elliott kicked off 84 times and had 42 touchbacks. There were 16 kickers in the league (at least 35 kickoffs) who had a higher touchback percentage. And it’s no coincidence.

During last season, in October, Malcolm Jenkins actually challenged Fipp to allow players to make plays (see story). Basically, the Eagles kicked the ball short of the goal line, betting that they could bring players down before the 25-yard line.

The rule restricting that running start might make them think twice.

When the Eagles are returning kicks, maybe they’ll try to return more. Last year, the Eagles were 26th in the league in kick return average at 19.7 yards per return. And they returned just 18 kicks, the fewest amount in the NFL.

The Eagles lost their primary kick returner, Kenjon Barner, in free agency. So they’ll have a new returner, who might have some extra space to work with.

It has been argued that these rules will actually increase the number of kick returns, while also making the play safer. We’ll see.