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Cincinnati Bengals' Mike Brown: Owners 'instructed' to stay mum on anthem

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The Sports Xchange
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell holds a press conference prior to Super Bowl LI on February 1, 2017 in Houston. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell holds a press conference prior to Super Bowl LI on February 1, 2017 in Houston. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

While the NFL and the players' association work to find common ground on the league's national anthem policy, owners apparently will not be weighing in on the subject.

Mike Brown of the Cincinnati Bengals told ESPN on Tuesday that he and his fellow NFL owners have been "instructed" not to comment on the anthem issue.

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"The league and the union are talking on this and we're instructed to stand down while that's ongoing," said Brown. "I'm not going to sit here and stir the pot. They don't want to hear from me right now. Let's see how this bubbles up and I hope they can come up with some kind of answer that is acceptable to not just the clubs and the players but more the public.

"And let's not forget the president," Brown said with a laugh.

RELATED New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch tells Donald Trump to back off

The anthem topic became a central issue for the NFL after President Donald Trump criticized the movement during a speech last September, stating players should be fired for not standing.

The NFLPA filed a grievance earlier this month against the NFL's new national anthem policy that requires players and league personnel to either stand for the anthem or remain in the locker room. The policy also subjects teams to a fine if a player or any other personnel do not show respect for the anthem.

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That policy was put on hold while the NFLPA and the NFL negotiate to find "a solution to the anthem issue through mutual, good faith commitments, outside of litigation," the sides said in a mutual statement.

RELATED NFL, players' union at impasse on national anthem policy

Last week, the New York Giants announced that the team will not punish players who decide to kneel for the anthem. Giants co-owner Steve Tisch told The Hollywood Reporter that Trump should stay out of the fray.

"He has no understanding of why they take a knee or why they're protesting," said Tisch. "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."

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 within the players' rights to protest perceived social injustice peacefully.

RELATED NFLPA files grievance challenging NFL's anthem policy

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement in 2016 to kneel during the national anthem as a protest to perceived police brutality against African-Americans, social injustice and racial inequality.

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Kaepernick and former 49ers safety Eric Reid have both filed collusion cases against the league after failing to land jobs as free agents.

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