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Bills veterans not sweating over NFL's new anthem rule

Buffalo Bills veterans took the NFL's new national anthem policy in stride Thursday.

Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said it won't stop players from calling attention to issues of social justice. Safety Micah Hyde wasn't worried about the players getting on a relatively similar page on the issue.

The rule OK'd by owners Wednesday will require all players to stand for the anthem. However, players have the right to stay in the locker room for the playing of the anthem. The team will be fined if players on the field don't stand.

"It didn't surprise me at all," Alexander said. "Ownership is trying to do what's best in their mind for their business. For me personally, I don’t have control over any of that so I'm going to continue to still do the community work, continue to engage the community as we're doing around here, along with the organization and encourage all of our guys around the league to do the same thing."

"I'm sure somebody around the league will find a different way to still use the platform to make sure the messaging is still getting across some way," Alexander said, referring to players who want to kneel. "But other than that, they're just doing what's in their best interests, and I respect that. It's no problem with me."

Roughly 20 players league-wide were kneeling for the anthem over the final weeks of the NFL season last year. The Bills did not have any kneelers during the latter stages of the season. Hyde said the players eventually would meet with coach Sean McDermott on the issue.

"I don't really have an opinion yet," Hyde said. "We haven’t had much discussion on it. To be honest I'm waiting for it to kind of calm down a little bit before Sean talks to us and we'll all discuss stuff. Sean's a player's coach. He'll relay the message to us, the leadership group, and we'll have one standpoint together."

McDermott said he only briefly has spoken with owner Kim Pegula on the vote.

"At this point, those conversations are very early or in their early stages," McDermott said. "Wanting to fully understand all of it thoroughly, that’s really where we are right now. We’ll have those good conversations as we always do; Terry and Kim are very supportive and up to date on this situation in particular."

Said Alexander: "There's plenty of different platforms we have, whether it's through the media in the normal sense or Twitter, for engaging the community. There's a lot of different ways outside of protesting on Sundays that we can make an impact."

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