FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Atlanta Falcons owner and chairman Arthur Blank spoke with FOX 5 Friday as the first day of training camp for the 2018 season kicked off. Blank spoke on the latest developments in the NFL's national anthem policy. He also said he was confident Julio Jones' contract situation would be resolved.
Jones skipped offseason workouts at the team's training facility as well as a mandatory minicamp to demonstrate his unhappiness. His next option was to hold out during training camp, which could have led to fines of $40,000 per day.
Late Wednesday night, Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff announced the team reached an agreement on a contract adjustment with Jones. On Thursday, the Falcons tweeted out a video of Jones reporting to the team facility for training camp.
Blank has said previously, the standout wide receiver would be a Falcon for life.
Off the field, the NFL and National Football League Players Association recently agreed to halt enforcement of rules regarding the new national anthem policy while the two sides work on a resolution.
"Right now the NFL and the NFLPA is meeting again currently, it was just reported today to try and resolve the issues and come together on it. I'm pretty optimistic they'll be able to come together on it. It's a complex issue," Blank said.
Blank also said he is focused on doing the right thing for the flag, the players, the fans, and has asked his players to stand for the national anthem.
"Having said all that, I'd say players do have First Amendment rights," Blank said, "If you talk to many military they'll tell you what they fought for also was not just the flag the fabric, the flag but what it stood for and what it stands for is a Constitution and a Bill of Rights."
In July, Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn, Falcons players and executives, went on a USO Tour to Iraq.
Blank closed his comments by saying while he doesn't think any Falcons players will protest during the national anthem this upcoming season, but said he won't be heavy handed when it comes to telling his players how to express themselves, "It's far better in my opinion to have somebody else make those decisions themselves than to hit them over the head with a hammer."
Throughout the past several months, the Falcons have been working with players to support their initiatives for a variety of social issues.
The NFL is committing $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes in a three-segment plan that involves league players.