National Football League mandates anthem respect: Stand up, or stay in the locker room

Saul Bowman
May 25, 2018

The policy requires players and personnel to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner" or face fines - though each team may develop its own rules about those who do not comply with the new rules.

On Wednesday, the NFL announced it would fine teams if their football players protest during the National Anthem.

"We want people to stand", said Goodell, who dismissed concerns about the lack of union involvement by contending the league met with countless players over the past year.

The new policy says players must "show respect" as they stand, but not does not silence them completely.

One CEO, the Jets' Christopher Johnson, already said he won't be forcing his players to pay that fine.

"I think it's important that we stand for the anthem", he said. There are some big, complicated issues that we're all struggling with, and our players are on the front lines.

He went on to say that "if the team gets fined, that's just something I'll have to bear". That was the approach taken by owners when they met in October in NY and did not change the previous anthem policy.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color", Kaepernick said. At the end of the day, they call the shots, make the rules, so that's what we have to abide by. So if you really think about it, they defined the right to not stand for the national anthem.

Long's statement echos the argument Bob Ford made: that the league, while absolving itself of the need to discipline players, is mostly concerned that owners think on-field protests are bad for business.

Clearly, Goodell and most owners just want to put the divisive issue behind them. As we've said publicly as well as in conversations with our team and other constituents, we want all members of our organization to stand for the National Anthem.

The NFL voted on a rule that affects the all players in the NFL regarding the national anthem. "I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion".

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the protests in 2016, and when he was shunned by all 32 teams in the league, going unsigned for the entire 2017 season, players and commentators questioned whether he was being blackballed by the owners.

"I know there's some discussion of keeping players off the field until after the anthem", he said during an owner's meeting in March.

President Donald Trump doled out a rare one-on-one interview to Fox & Friends, airing Thursday morning, and Brian Kilmeade asked for his thoughts on the "breaking news" regarding the NFL's new policy on kneeling.

Despite his professed familiarity with the systemic anti-blackness the protests were meant to draw attention to, Kraft still voted against the interests of his black players and, secondarily, the cause of free speech. "I remain extremely proud of how we demonstrated unity last season as well as our players' commitment to strengthening our communities".

"Well, I think the general public has a very strong view of what respect for the flag is and that moment", he said.

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