The NFL announces a new national anthem policy in response to player protests during the anthem that will go into effect at the start of the upcoming 2018 season.
NFL owners unanimously approved this new national anthem policy that requires players to stand for the anthem if they are on the field during the performance. The one exception; the policy does give the players the option to remain in the locker room until the performance is complete, if they prefer.
The policy subjects teams to a fine if a player or any other team personnel do not show respect for the anthem, including sitting or kneeling during the anthem. Those teams also will have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction.
Standing during the national anthem has been a story in the NFL over the last two years as players have taken to kneeling during the anthem as means of peaceful protest against racial inequality and police brutality. However, the NFL has said that these protests have caused a drop in ratings over the last two years as some fans have taken offense to these actions.
“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.”
There was no shortage of player reaction from around the league, as most took to twitter to express their different opinions.
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) May 23, 2018
— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) May 23, 2018
“Appropriate respect for flag and anthem” implies that guys were being disrespectful towards it. Which is an opinion. Most people who believe that ignore the responses from the players and more importantly why men chose to protest. https://t.co/j7nyw2Lkai
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) May 23, 2018
Freedom of speech does not exist for NFL players now, we get fined for protesting for something we believe in, FINE ME!!!! You can’t change my opinion, and can’t stop my protest I have a right as an American to protest when I feel there is injustice in this country.
— Dawuane Smoot (@Bigsmoot_94) May 23, 2018