XFL co-owners Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia will support players that opt to kneel during the national anthem, they confirm in an upcoming interview with VICE.
Johnson, a former football player himself, said “if our players decide to stand or kneel, they do it in unity… Us as owners it’s our job to identify what their pain is and to take care of them.”
In saying this, Johnson is distancing the XFL from the NFL, which notably was not originally in support of players exercising their right to kneel during the anthem and essentially blacklisted Colin Kaepernick for doing so. The NFL did reverse the decision and make an attempt to save face by announcing it would play the Black national anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing,” prior to season opener games.
“Patriotism is not indifference. Patriotism is… calling out what’s wrong with the country you love,” Garcia added.
Garcia and Johnson recently became co-owners of the XFL after WWE chief executive Vince McMahon failed to revive the struggling league twice, both after founding it in 2001 and then purchasing it in 2018. Garcia and Johnson bought the league for $15 million in August right as it was on the brink of bankruptcy auction, alongside Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital Partners.
Johnson announced on his Twitter that the league will return to play in Spring 2022. “It’s an uphill battle – but we’re hungry, humble and no one will outwork us,” he said.
Check out Johnson and Garcia talking about their plans for the XFL and decision to get involved above.
Their VICE interview will air Oct. 14 at 10 p.m. ET on Vice TV (find listings here).