On Wednesday the NFL has passed a rule that makes it mandatory for players to stand for the National Anthem or the team risks being fined. League commissioner Rodger Goodell says the rule “reaffirms our strong commitment to work alongside our players to strengthen our communities and advance social justice.”
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling for the anthem in the 2016 season to protest racism and police brutality. He was soon joined by several teammates and dozens of other players around the NFL including teammate Eric Reid. While some fans were critical of the actions of Kaepernick and others, assuming the protest was against the Flag and Military, others supported players who took a knee.
The NFL Players Association released their own statement about the policy.
The new rules state:
• All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
• The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the Anthem.
• Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.
• A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
• Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.