NFL Adopts New Anthem Policy to Quell Player Protests

Isaac Cain
May 24, 2018

"I don't think they should be forced to stand or put their hand over the chest", Lamont Stone of Monroeville said.

The New York Jets say they will pay any fines and not penalize players if they violate a new National Football League policy to stand or stay in the locker room during "The Star-Spangled Banner".

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday announced a new policy that will fine teams if players on the field fail to stand during the "Star-Spangled Banner".

Taylor said that "to make a decision that strong, you would hope the players have input on it but obviously not".

"We want people to be respectful of the national anthem".

"I think we've come out at a place that we as a group and the league are comfortable with", Rooney said.

This rule will rub players the wrong way.

"It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic", said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement accompanying Wednesday's new policy.

Kim Henderson of Natrona Heights said, "People should honor the flag and Americans should stand when they are doing the national anthem so I'm all for it".

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said last season that he would bench any player who refused to stand for the anthem.

San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick (7) and Eric Reid (35) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, in Charlotte, N.C., September 18, 2016. But at the end of the day, they call the shots and make their rules and that's what we have to abide by. The teams also have the power to impose fines on the players who take a knee. However, Johnson joined his team on the field where they interlocked arms during the National Anthem.

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"I know there's some discussion of keeping players off the field until after the anthem". "But obviously not. So we have to deal with it as players, for good or a bad thing".

"On Twitter, Mr Pence voiced his support of the change with a succinct tweet that said: "#Winning".

"NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about", the NFLPA said in a prepared statement.

The owners spent more than three hours over two days addressing the contentious issue - which made it all the way to the White House.

What are people saying around the league?

"We've got to be careful not to be baited by Trump or whomever else", Lurie said. "You can fight the resistance on that one, but same as we can't smoke marijuana because it's illegal in certain states, or it's legal in certain states, it's the same issue". Houston Texas owner Bob McNair said it was important to pay attention to fans' concerns because without them "you're dead".

The Steelers elected to remain off the field and stand in the tunnel leading to the field.

The new policy was adopted at the league's meeting in Atlanta without involvement from the players' union.

Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a graduate of West Point who did three tours in Afghanistan before joining the National Football League, found himself on the field when the anthem began playing and turned to face the flag. Since the new policy is a change in the terms and conditions of employment that was not collectively bargained, any attempts to fine individual players would surely be opposed by the union.

The anthem controversy began in 2016 when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling on the sideline as a way to protest racial injustice and police brutality against minorities.

Other players took up the cause, and the gesture carried on during the 2017 season even after Kaepernick left the 49ers and failed to be picked up by another team.

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