Giants DE Vernon no longer kneeling during anthem

New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon kneels during the National Anthem prior to the Dec. 24, 2017 game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (file photo)

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New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon will take a different approach this season with his stance during the national anthem.

Vernon was the lone Giants player to kneel during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” in 2017. The 27-year-old said he has not decided if he will remain in the locker room this year for the national anthem, but will abide by the new NFL rules.

“I mean, I ain’t trying to get fined. So, no,” Vernon said Saturday when asked if he would kneel this season.

Despite the change, Vernon said he is not thrilled with the situation.

“I mean, you never want to be told what to do, really, especially when it comes to your freedom of speech,” Vernon said. “But, it is what it is. We haven’t really gotten too in depth into the rule.”

Vernon began kneeling for the anthem after President Donald Trump publicly spoke out on the topic.

“I certainly trust that our players are going to do the right thing,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur said on May 30, per the New York Daily News. “I think we just let it settle for a minute. At some point, we’ll sit and discuss it, but we just haven’t done it yet.”

The new rules for the national anthem require all players and team personnel on the field to stand when the anthem is played, but players do have the option to remain in the locker room. Teams will be fined if any players elect to kneel during the anthem, or do not show what the league deems to be proper respect.

Vernon recorded 38 tackles, seven sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception in 12 games last season. He has collected 297 tackles, 44.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles in 92 career contests with the Dolphins and Giants since being selected by Miami in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.