Bears QB Mitch Trubisky on anthem rule: ‘We’ll all stand on the field together’

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Chicago Bears players and coaches lock arms during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Monday, Oct. 9. (AP)

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky presumes the Bears will stand as a team for the national anthem this year, the same day the league passed a rule mandating as much — as long as players are on the field. The new rule, voted unaminously by owners Wednesday, mandates that players and staff that are on the field stand and “show respect for the flag.” Those who choose not to must stay in the locker room or, at least, off the field and out of view.

The NFL will be able to fine teams whose players are on the field and don’t stand. Teams may develop their own rules, the NFL said, as long as they’re consistent with the league’s stance.

“Rule’s a rule,” quarterback Mitch Trubisky said. “I’m just proud of how our team handled last year it in the past and I believe we’ll all stand on the field together this year. It is what it is. I think it’s all about eliminating distractions for the team and for the audience. Just represent yourself and the organization in the right manner.”

In a statement, the NFLPA said the vote “contradicts the statements made to our player leadership … about the principles, values and patriotism of our league” by Goodell and John Mara, the chairman of the NFL’s management council. The union said it will “challenge any aspect of the policy that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.”

Outside linebacker Sam Acho, the Bears’ union rep, said that players investing in societal causes won’t be slowed.

“About the policy, obviously from the beginning no one’s intent —and I think no one’s purpose— was to disrespect the flag,” he said. “Everyone’s purpose, starting with Colin Kaepernick, Michael Thomas and Eric Reid— who still doesn’t have a job— was to protest police brutality against people of color. So I think that still stands right? You’re going to find a way to stand up for people who were being unjustly treated, find a way to stick up for justice in whatever way shape or form you can possibly do it.”

The Bears, who did not have a player kneel last season, will gather to talk about what they’ll do, coach Matt Nagy said.

“Yeah, at some point we’ll get together,” he said. “It’s too important not to and I feel very confident that we’ll all do it together. …

“From what I was told there were no issues with this team last year, which is great. We’ll communicate it, we’ll talk it out and we’ll make sure we’re listening to everybody and trying to do the right thing as much as we can. I know it’s a touchy subject but I feel confident we’ll do it together.”

Nagy said he learned from his experience last year, when some Chiefs players protested the anthem.

“For us, last year in Kansas City, there weren’t a whole lot of big talks,” he said. “It was more of, ‘You do what you do.’ Again it’s such a touchy subject and the right and wrong answers, but we never ended up having a major issue with it. We had a couple of guys that did some things but that was our team’s prerogative on how to handle it. It’s one of those touchy subjects.”

Acho said players will continue to work in the community.

“It’s not an us-versus-them thing,” he said. “Even though it might be perceived as an us-versus-them thing, either way both sides got to come together — rich, poor, black, white. You have to come together. It’s not like these powers at be that you talk about, whether it’s owners or whatever, are oppressing, oppressing, oppressing. There’s hatred on both sides. There’s doubt and fear on both sides.

“I think the only way to overcome that is a sense of love. That’s why I respect George and the McCaskey family. And I’m not just saying that as lip service because there are cameras here. I’m saying that because we’ve spent time together. We’ve spent a ton of time together and he sacrifices a lot. I know the vote was 32-to-0 with the owners, but I also know him as a man. I know we’re getting to the bottom of this.”

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