KRAVITZ: Giants' Tisch supports his players in anthem flap; are you listening, Jim Irsay?

FILE - Colts Owner Jim Irsay introduces new general manager Chris Ballard introduces during a press conference at the NFL team's practice facility in Indianapolis, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Finally, a voice of sanity. Finally, an NFL owner – in this case, New York Giants' co-owner Steve Tisch – is speaking out not only against President Donald Trump, but against the other NFL owners, the boobs who enacted this mindless national anthem policy that requires players to stand during the "Star Spangled Banner" or remain in the locker room.

Finally, someone who makes sense, who respects his players' right to silently protest issues that are exceedingly important to them – specifically, racial inequality and police brutality against African-Americans and other minorities.

"We support our players," Tisch said recently. "They are not going to be punished. There is not going to be any punitive action taking place against them.

Are you listening, Jim Irsay?

This is the right approach. This is the sensible and sensitive approach. This is the approach that will land Tisch – and hopefully the Colts and other teams – on the right side of history. Is it the financially expedient approach? Probably not. There's no question the anthem controversy hurt the league in myriad ways. But this goes well beyond the dollars and cents, and heaven knows, the NFL isn't exactly passing the hat these days.

For the time being, though, the Colts and so many other teams have skirted the issue. While the Dolphins produced a team rule that would fine or suspend protestors for up to four games, and that's what inspired Tisch to speak in recent days, almost everyone else has scattered into the background. They have an out this time: the league finally has agreed to work with the NFLPA (NFL Players Association) to come up with a workable solution, as opposed to this cockamamie approach they've taken thus far. In other words, the league is doing what it should have done in the first place, rather than unilaterally coming up with their nonsensical and ill-conceived rule.

So everybody, the Colts included, is going to wait.

Which feels like the easy way out.

"We've had internal meetings, discussions with our players, and I'll tell you, I love to listen; everybody sees the world through a different lens, all different backgrounds and we all see the world differently," Colts general manager Chris Ballard said Friday when I asked him about the Colts' policy/non-policy. "And it's been exciting and interesting to talk through this with our players and ownership and getting on the same page. We're going to wait (until the NFL and NFLPA fix the mess). Our players want to do the right thing. I thought last year, we stood (arm in arm) together (in Seattle) and went into the community, started up the (community) fund, steps in the right direction.

"Look, we want to stand and honor the flag and what it stands for. But we're going to wait for the league and the PA (Players Association) and see what the final resolution is and make a decision internally."

That's being reactive. It's time to be proactive. It's time to support the men the fans come to see, to respect their minds as much as their bodies. But the owners don't know how to untie this Gordian Knot – refuse to untie this Gordian Knot – because the anthem protests impacted the bottom line.

There's this, too: The owners, or at least most of them, are scared to death of getting on the wrong side of President Trump. Many voted for him. Many pledged money to his campaign. (Irsay, for the record, has contributed to candidates on both sides of the political aisle during his tenure). At least one, Woody Johnson of the Jets, is Trump's ambassador to the United Kingdom. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was once one of the biggest supporters of the protests, but changed his tune completely when Trump got involved.

Does anybody else find this just a little bit ironic, hysterical really, that Trump has become a champion of a patriotic litmus test? This is coming from a man who was criticized by legislators on both sides of the aisle for the way he mishandled the Helsinki Summit. It was clumsy at best and treasonous at worst. We are at a stage in this crazy game when we're not entirely sure of Trump's loyalties, and NFL owners are letting him determine what's patriotic and what's not?

Does anybody else find this just a little bit ironic that Trump has become a champion of a patriotic litmus test? This is coming from a man who was criticized by legislators on both sides of the aisle for the way he handled the Helsinki Summit. A man whose relationship with Russia has set off a nationwide debate about whether the leader of a hostile, foreign nation may have compromising information on the leader of the free world? Are we really at a stage in this crazy game where we’re allowing that to be the basis for what does or doesn’t constitute loyalty to America?

And as Tisch noted, surely, Trump has more important things to worry about. But, then, it's all political theater, pandering to his base, just as it was the case when Vice President Mike Pence staged his walkout of the Colts-Niners game last season.

"Hopefully, he (Trump) will have much more going on that he's going to have to deal with and should deal with and must deal with than worrying about what NFL players do," Tisch said. "He has no understanding of why they take a knee or why they're protesting. When the new season starts, I hope his priorities are not criticizing the NFL and telling owners what to do and what not to do."

Sure, that'll happen (he said sarcastically).

Here was Trump's tweet on July 20:

"The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again – can't believe it! Isn't it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay."

So now everybody waits – because doing nothing and letting someone else decide is a whole lot easier than taking a stand. Bless Steve Tisch for standing up and speaking out on behalf of his players. Now it's time for Irsay and the others to follow suit.

Not holding my breath.

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