Photo credit: @NBCNews
By Jeremy Kahn
In a unanimous vote by the 32 owners of the National Football League, there will be a different policy to the National Anthem.
Effective this season, the new policy will require players to stand if they are on the field during the playing of the National Anthem. This also will include kneeling and sitting, something many players have done since the 2016 season.
Since the 2016 season, dozens of players have protested the National Anthem due to racial inequality and police brutality around the United States.
Teams will have the option to fine any team personnel, including players if they protest the anthem.
“We want people to be respectful of the national anthem,” commissioner Roger Goodell said. “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.”
All 32 teams approved the policy, that will become part of the NFL’s operations manual and will not be subject to collective bargaining. The National Football League Players Association will review the policy and will “challenge any aspect” that looks to be inconsistent with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling for the National Anthem during the 2016 preseason, and continued it during the entire season. The league did not have a rule for players to kneel for the National Anthem, and the league was not able to stop him.
President Donald Trump criticized Kaepernick and other players for kneeling during the National Anthem, as did fans and owners of other teams, who thought that it was disrespectful to the United States.
Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, New York Jets owner Christopher Johnson and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wished to avoid having players protest against the anthem.