For the past couple seasons, controversy has been sparked around the nation when it comes to NFL players electing to kneel during the singing or playing of the national anthem. There have been multiple meetings throughout the league in attempts to seek a balance of allowing individuals players to make decisions for themselves when it comes to standing or kneeling during the anthem.
But now, the rules are different.
Today the league announced, it has decided to implement a new rule this upcoming season which will require all players in the NFL to stand for the anthem if they are on the field – a policy the NFL owners unanimously approved of.
“We want people to be respectful of the national anthem,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a press release. “We want people to stand — that’s all personnel — and make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That’s something we think we owe. [But] we were also very sensitive to give players choices.”
However, a player does not have to be on the field during the anthem as they can choose to remain in the locker-room during that time.
Many players followed suit of Colin Kaepernick who decided in 2016, he would not stand for the playing of the anthem as he felt the words were not representing what was going on in America. They were protesting racial inequality and police brutality. At that time, the rules only stated a player “should” stand — not that they had to. Thousands of people felt players who did not stand for the flag/anthem were not patriotic, but Goodell went on record to defend the players.
“It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case,” Goodell shared.
The new policy does subject teams to fine a player, or team personnel, for not showing respect to the anthem which includes kneeling or sitting while on the field. Yet, the specifics on the amount of the fine has not yet been disclosed nor what is considered being disrespectful to the flag the ESPN report stated.
The report also said the Players Association in the league will review the new policy and “challenge any aspect” it feels is inconsistent with the CBA.
Statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pic.twitter.com/1Vn7orTo1R
— NFL (@NFL) May 23, 2018