Former Minnesota Viking Jared Allen is an early investor in a new spring football league, the Alliance of American Football (AAF). It will have certain differences from the NFL, among them, a “requirement” for players to stand for the national anthem while on the field.
The new league was co-founded by Bill Polian and Charlie Ebersol, son of the longtime television executive, Dick. Besides being an investor, Allen is listed as a Player Relations Executive.
In a recent interview in Sports Illustrated, Allen stated that players on the field would be required to stand:
I think we all have our own political views. We’ve talked about it, and Bill [Polian] can answer that question. The Alliance, we want to support our athletes in all of their endeavors. It’s very important to work with that team, in that community, and have our players in the community doing philanthropic endeavors. That is very important.
If teams want to stay in the locker room, we’re going to allow [it]—but if you’re on the field for the national stadium, you will stand. You will be required to stand. … Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday—we want you to be in your community. As a guy who has his own charity, I want guys to be passionate about the causes they have. We’re fully supportive. But just like any job, you’ve got to have rules.
The new AAF is at least directly addressing the issue. While the topic is a hot one at this week’s NFL owner’s meetings, the issue is not expected to be voted on during meetings this week. Houston Texans owner Robert McNair has been among a cluster of owners that are adamant that players should stand for the national anthem.
The AAF is slated to kickoff its inaugural season in February of 2019.