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Giants’ owner John Mara will support players who kneel for national anthem

Mara addresses social justice, state of Giants franchise, much more

NFL: New York Giants-Training Camp
John Mara
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants co-owner John Mara had a simple answer on Thursday when asked if he would support Giants’ players who choose to kneel for the national anthem before games to protest what they see as social injustice.

“Yes.”

“My preference is that everybody stand, but if you decide in your conscience that taking a knee is the right thing to do I’m going to support your right to do that because I believe in the First Amendment,” Mara said.

Here’s more from Mara on that topic”

“I’ll support any players’ right to engage in silent protest,” Mara said. “What makes it easy for me to do that is when I see how much work they’re [Giants players] doing in the community and how important what is going on right now in this country is to each of them, and they back it up with actions, not just words.”

“Our players are very engaged in working in a lot of different areas. They asked me to take part in that video last week and I was happy to do that. I’m going to support our players, particularly when they engage in the type of activity that they have been off the field. They’ve been fantastic about that.”

Mara know his stance won’t be popular with all Giants fans.

“I understand the fact and accept the fact that that’s not going to be necessarily popular with certain segments of our fan base, but I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Here are more takeaways from Mara’s Thursday videoconference.

On Joe Judge

Mara is happy with his new coach thus far.

“I’ve been very pleased so far. The things that are noticeable to me are the amount of teaching that goes on on the field. It’s non-stop. I think the intensity of the practices, I think the communication that he has with the players on football and non-football issues. I’ve also been very, very impressed with the staff he’s put together. There’s a lot of experience on that staff and I feel very confident that we’re in a good place right now in terms of trying to get these players to perform at their best.”

Mara said Judge and GM Dave Gettleman have worked well together.

“I think the communication between the two of them has been excellent. I think they are on the same page. When they disagree about something they talk it out and they come to a conclusion, and that’s all I can expect,” Mara said.

“They both want the same thing. They want to build a good foundation here and set us up to be able to compete for Super Bowls. I think we’re off to a good start with this combination.”

Mara was asked about Judge’s coaching style.

“I think the players have bought into this so far ... the combination of the intensity, the discipline, plus the teaching that’s going on I think is going to pay off for us in the long run.”

On the team’s direction

Mara said this is his 60th training camp.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this before. It’s just a unique set of circumstances but I’m very pleased with the way they have dealt with it and the communication that’s gone on. Obviously I want to win some games but I feel good about the direction that we’re headed in right now and I want feel that way in January, as well. I have every reason to expect that I will,” Mara said.

“I want to feel when we walk off the field after we play the last game, whenever that is, that we’re moving in the right direction. That we have the pieces in place to compete for a Super Bowl and that the combination of people that we have here is going to work going forward.”

Mara recognizes that fans are impatient.

“I can’t sit here and say we have to win a certain number of games otherwise I’m going to blow the whole thing up. Steve [Tisch] and I agree, we need to feel like we’re building something that’s going to compete for a championship,” he said.

“We made some big changes over the past few years. I think we’re starting to build a foundation that can last over the long haul.”

On confidence in getting in a full season

“I don’t know about all 256 games or whatever it is, but I’m definitely more confident now than I was. If you had asked me in March or April I would have had serious doubts about that ... I think we’ve got a good chance to play a full season ... I never would have believed that we would have so few positive tests.”

On DeAndre Baker

Mara said it Baker’s legal troubles were “very disappointing” and that the organization “certainly did not see that coming.”

He said a decision on Baker’s future with the team “will be made sooner rather than later.”

Mara added the Baker arrest on felony armed robbery charges was a shock and “there was no indication that we should be concerned about any criminal activity.”

On Daniel Jones

“I feel good about him right now, the work he’s put in, the way he’s looked in camp. I’d like to see him take the next step this year. I’m confident that he will do that.

“The thing that is gratifying to me is our coaching staff is very high on him. Guys that have been around successful quarterbacks in the past and they think that he has what it takes to get us to the next level.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: I want to leave comments open in this post. That depends entirely on you and how you handle discussing Mara’s anthem and social justice comments. Do it with class, have a discussion, they stay open. Do it with hatred, accusations and a closed mind they will be shut down.}