May 23, 2018

NFL to require players on field to stand for national anthem

Photo: Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The NFL announced a new policy today that will require players on the field to stand while the national anthem is played during its upcoming season. While violations will see a fine levied against the team by the league — along with potential repercussions from the league office — players may also choose to remain off the field or in the locker room during the anthem if they do not wish to stand.

Why it matters: The decision was a hot-button issue amongst NFL owners last season — and it's a significant win for President Trump in one of his favorite culture war issues.

The full revised policy:

  1. All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
  2. The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the Anthem.
  3. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.

From NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: “We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it — and on our fans who enjoy it…The efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed. It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case.”

From the NFL Players Association: "The NFL chose not to consult the union in the development of this new 'policy.'"

Go deeper: The history of singing the national anthem before NFL games.

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